MANILA - Denying ABS-CBN a fresh franchise is not the end of the road for the company, the network's news chief said Friday, after a House of Representatives panel junked its bid to resume broadcast operations.
Speaking to Teleradyo, ABS-CBN Integrated News chief Ging Reyes urged her colleagues to soldier on and continue to be of service to the Filipino people.
"Hindi ako naniniwala na ito ang katapusan ng ABS-CBN. Hindi. Hindi ito ang katapusan ng vision ni Ginoong [Eugenio] Geny Lopez [Jr.], ang ating kapitan, na nagsabi that news is the heart and soul of ABS-CBN, at matibay ang paniwala ko diyan. Kaya ako'y naniniwala na hindi pa ito ang ating katapusan," she said.
For Reyes, the decision of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises following over 100 hours of public hearings in over a month is putting the network on its mettle.
"Alam niyo, sinusubok tayo. Sinusubok ang ating values at ang ating paninindigan. Ganito yata talaga kapag meron tayong pinaglalaban. Talagang kailangan kang matalo para bumangon ka uli at magtagumpay," she said.
"So sana po huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asa... Stay true to your values. Stay true to our commitment of our service. Hindi po tayo susuko," she added.
While Reyes respects the decision of the House panel, she said letting ABS-CBN stay off the air would affect the country's state of journalism and deprive the public of choices of news and entertainment.
"Hindi natin maikakaila na ang press freedom naman ay hindi lang para sa atin. Ito'y para sa lahat," she said.
"We want our public, we want our audience to have a choice in what they will watch, they will read, in the show or news program they want to see," she added.
Without a fresh franchise, Reyes said they would have to adjust to the "new normal."
"Hindi na gano'n kadali na mag-produce ng programa. TV Patrol ang ating lifeline para sa ating ibang programa na hindi naman profitable. So dahil ang TV Patrol ay nawala sa free to air, kaakibat niya ay 'yung advertising revenue na inaasahan natin para makapag-produce ng dokumentaryo, ng mas malalalim na current affairs program," she said.
"'Yun 'yung pagsisikapan natin. Itutuloy ang news pero maghihigpit tayo ng sinturon," she added.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) shut down ABS-CBN's free TV and radio operations on May 5 after its original 25-year franchise was left to expire on May 4 despite a long-pending renewal application at the House of Representatives.
A House panel on Friday rejected ABS-CBN's franchise bid, saying "the applicant was seen as undeserving of the grant of a legislative franchise," placing the jobs of more than 11,000 workers in jeopardy.
The network was first shut down in 1972 when dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial rule. Nearly 5 decades later, it was forced off the air under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.