Amid ABS-CBN closure, remember to serve fellow Filipinos, Fr. Caluag tells public

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 10 2021 07:32 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2021 12:15 PM

Amid ABS-CBN closure, remember to serve fellow Filipinos, Fr. Caluag tells public 1
The ABS-CBN compound lights up in the network’s colors on May 5, 2021, a year after the country's telecoms body shut down ABS-CBN's free TV and radio operations. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—The chaplain of ABS-CBN Corp. on Saturday urged the public to be faithful to their service and mission to the country, saying the rejection of the network's franchise bid should only make them stronger. 

In his homily during the Mass marking exactly a year that 70 House lawmakers rejected the broadcast network's franchise application, Fr. Tito Caluag said the experience gave the Filipino community a "renewed sense of purpose and a new sense of discernment."

"As we look back in the past year, of course, there's a lot of pain . . . that we felt when the franchise was denied and I think while we are going for that experience . . . and all of us were coming together and I remember that night the franchise was denied," Caluag said. 

"Remember in the end, we must be very focused, and the focus is to serve the Filipinos no matter what the cost is. And we pray for that grace today, that the Lord may grant us the grace to see clearly the way forward." 

The public should also look back at the network's closure during Martial Law for inspiration and guidance, he said.

ABS-CBN's iconic tagline "In the Service of the Filipino" should inspire everyone to serve the nation. 

"To realize that this moment over the past year is something that, in a sense, the predecessors of this community have gone through, and yet they were not crushed," Caluag said. 

"We realize that setbacks and disappointments will really break us, but it will not kill us. That is what we would like to continue to discern together. 

"I think the most important (thing), that brings everything together, is that you must give someone something to die for. And I pray that the past year has made it clear to each and everyone in our community, what is it that we are willing to die for, to sacrifice to be faithful to the mission."

ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak, Chairman Mark Lopez, COO for broadcast Cory Vidanes were all present during the Mass. 

On July 10 last year, lawmakers from the Duterte-dominated House of Representatives denied ABS-CBN's fresh franchise application, causing thousands of retrenched employees as well as the deprivation of crucial information in far-flung areas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After the House committee voted to deny the network a fresh franchise, Katigbak said ABS-CBN was "deeply hurt" but stressed that the company remained "committed to public service."

"We remain committed to public service, and we hope to find other ways to achieve our mission. Together with our employees and our audiences all over the world, we share in your sadness over this setback. We look forward to the day when we can again reunite under our broadcast," Katigbak said.

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