Editor's note: We are publishing in full statements issued by various groups and institutions in support of ABS-CBN Corp., which went off the air on May 5, 2020 following a cease and desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission. The company's franchise expired on May 4, while bills for its franchise renewal, some filed since 2016, continued to languish in Congress.
TUCP: NTC ORDER VS ABS-CBN RENDERS 11,000 WORKERS JOBLESS, INCREASES THEIR VULNERABILITY TO COVID-19 AND ECONOMIC RECESSION
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) expresses its grave concern and its deep displeasure on the loss of jobs and negative impact on the fight against COVID-19 that the Cease and Desist Order of the National Telecommunications closing down ABS CBN will have. With a single stroke of the pen, an unfeeling NTC has rendered 11,000 workers jobless, increasing the vulnerability of these workers and their families to both the ravages of COVID-19 and the economic recession. Truth and the ABS-CBN workers are the first victims of the NTC order.
The second victims of NTC will be the nation as a whole. Mean-spirited and unwise, the NTC Order will effectively raise COVID-19 incidence as our poorest people, without the distraction of their favorite tv shows inside their super-heated, locked down homes, start congregating outside their crowded communities without physical distancing. Further, without recourse to their trusted and credible news sources, people will be left adrift in the miasma and mess of fake news and myths that populates other media.
At this time when the nation's survival is at stake, at this point when real time information is crucial in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and at this moment when national solidarity is forged through media and broadcast networks so our nation may heal as one, NTC by-passed the prerogative of Congress, as the representatives of the people, to properly rule on the fate of the ABS-CBN franchise renewal during an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
Without legal basis for issuing the Order, NTC should have taken the higher moral ground by issuing a provisional authority to operate thereby allowing a comprehensive Congressional deliberation on the issues at hand.
Instead, NTC jumped the gun by foolishly putting its foot forward to derail the democratic process and in the process, hijacking a Constitutional mandate to Congress emanating from the people.
TUCP demands that the NTC provide its legal basis for issuing the Cease and Desist Order notwithstanding a Congressional consensus that a temporary permit must be issued to ABS-CBN while it works out its franchise renewal from Congress.
As the largest national trade union center, we remind NTC that it is not just shutting off a network, it is treacherously shutting off the hopes and aspirations of its workers and their families. It is treacherously shutting off all hopes and aspirations of its 11,000 workers and their families forged through hard work and perseverance to improve their lives through an honest living.
TUCP joins the Filipino nation in rallying behind the cause of the viewers of ABS CBN with their daily involvement and even commitment to ABS-CBN news and entertainment programs that soothes and makes it easier to bear with the hardships of their daily lives. The ordinary Filipino who voted for President Duterte could not have been more resilient, hopeful, creative and more hardworking if there was no ABS-CBN to accompany them in their daily struggles.
The TUCP, along with our member-federations and member-workers are one with ABS-CBN and its workers in this fight. This too shall pass.
Atty. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza
President, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)
Representative, House of Representatives, TUCP Partylist