MANILA — TV host Boy Abunda broke his silence Friday on the forced broadcast shutdown of ABS-CBN, his home network of two decades, turning emotional as he spoke of his fellow employees who have lost their jobs.
Abunda addressed the issue at length in the first episode of “Talk About Talk,” his online YouTube series. Explaining his timing, Abunda said he had opted to grieve in private, and pointed out he no longer had his usual venue for airing his opinions. Prior to the shutdown, that was “Tonight with Boy Abunda” on ABS-CBN.
Abunda was interviewed by young co-hosts, who asked him on a range of topics related to ABS-CBN’s shutdown, from whether he believes the so-called “conscience vote” of lawmakers who denied the franchise, to his friendship with Rep. Mike Defensor, one of the staunchest critics of the network.
When he started to talk about his long-time co-workers who are now without stable jobs as a result of the franchise denial, Abunda became visibly emotional, pausing several times to compose himself.
“People are crying, people are lost. This pain is real. I’m not talking about data. I’m not talking about statistics. I am talking about real people who are suffering, who are in pain, who don’t know what to do,” he said.
He then mentioned the case of Mavic Oducayen, the ABS-CBN production manager who was reported to have died of a heart attack, after she got confirmation that she was among those who would be retrenched.
Soon after Duterte allies in Congress voted to kill ABS-CBN’s franchise, the network was forced to start its retrenchment process, affecting thousands of workers and entire units, many of whom will end their tenure at the end of August.
“Pag pinag-uusapan ang pagsasara ng ABS-CBN, this is something that is real. This is a pain that I feel. Not just my pain, but the pain of people who I’ve worked with for years, for decades. Iyon ang buhay ng nagluluksa,” he said.
Recalling he showed up for work on the evening after his mother died in December 2019, Abunda said, “Ganoon ko kamahal ang trabahong ito.”
“You can imagine what it means to lose this job.”
Watch Abunda’s full statement below: