MANILA -- Activists lambasted on National Heroes' Day the 70 congressmen who rejected the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corp last July 10.
August 31 is the last day of work for thousands of the network's employees laid off in the middle of a pandemic due to the lawmakers' decision.
Groups led by labor group Defend Jobs Philippines tore up a banner with the photos of the 70 lawmakers and the phrase “modern-day traitors” to Filipino workers.
“Ang nangyaring shutdown sa ABS-CBN ay kagaya ng mga nangyari noon na may tiraniya at inhustisya at pagbusal sa bibig para sa pagbibigay ng impormasyon, kalayaan sa pamamahayag," said Defend Jobs spokesperson Lloyd Magsoy.
(The shutdown of ABS-CBN is like previous periods of tyranny and injustice and muzzling of information sources and a free press.)
"Iyong mga 70 congressman na nag-pave ng daan para 'yong injustices, 'yong attack sa press freedom ay mangyari sila ang itinuturing namin na mga Makapili, Buencamino at Paterno na talagang ibinenta ang kalayaan natin,” he added, referring to the alleged conspirators of former colonizers of the country.
(We treat the 70 congressmen who paved the way for these injustices, attack on press freedom as equal to the Makapili, Buencamino and Paterno who sold our freedom.)
The lawmakers yielded to President Rodrigo Duterte, who had repeatedly vowed to shut down the broadcaster for its alleged failure to air his 2016 elections ads among other reasons, said progressive group Bayan Muna.
“Marami sa mga kasamahan namin sa Kongreso ay pinili ang mga pamantayang walang basehan para ang pinal na desisyon ay wag gawaran ng prangkisa ang ABS-CBN," Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdie Gaite said.
(Many of our colleagues in Congress chose standards without basis so that the franchise of ABS-CBN can't be granted.)
"Hindi pinakinggan ang rason. Ang nanaig ay ang boses ng Malakanyang, ang tindig ni Pangulong Duterte sa unang bahagi pa lamang ng termino niya na sinabi niya na hindi magkakaroon ng prangkisa ang ABS-CBN,” he added.
(Reason was not heard. What prevailed was the voice of Malacañang, the stand of President Duterte who from early in his term said that ABS-CBN would not get a franchise.)
The 70 congressmen's reasons for rejecting a new franchise were contrary to most of the testimonies of various government officials who said that ABS-CBN had not violated any of the country's laws, and that infractions on labor and taxes had been addressed by the network.
Duterte was "neutral" on the franchise application of ABS-CBN, his aides had repeatedly said prior to the July 10 vote. But the president claimed credit for dismantling the oligarchy, represented by the owners of ABS-CBN, in a speech in Jolo, Sulu three days after the vote by the lower House.
Audio clip reveals Duterte chided ABS-CBN in 'dismantling oligarchy' speech
The fight for media freedom and the franchise of ABS-CBN continues with signature campaign Pirma Kapamilya, said ACT Teachers party-list group.
“'Wag po tayong panghinaan, hindi pa po tapos ang laban, marami pa pong arena at venue na kung saan igigiit natin ang katotohanan,” said ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro.
news.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.