(July 10, 2020) – The president and chief executive of broadcast giant ABS-CBN lamented the decision of lawmakers to deny its bid for a new franchise on Friday, even as he thanked supporters who stood by the network.
“We are deeply hurt that the Committee on Legislative Franchises has denied the franchise application of ABS-CBN,” said Carlo Katigbak. “We believe that we have been rendering service that is meaningful and valuable to the Filipino public.”
After 12 hearings on several allegations, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises voted 70-11 to deny giving ABS-CBN a new 25-year franchise.
Katigbak still thanked the committee for letting them answer the allegations. He also recognized legislators who voted to renew the franchise, or spoke for the 74-year old network.
“We remain committed to public service, and we hope to find other ways to achieve our mission,” Katigbak added. “Kapit lang, muling magliliwanag ang kwento ng bawat Pilipino.”
House Committee on Legislative Franchises l chairman Franz Alvarez said the network can appeal the decision within 24 hours, but the committee will have to hold another hearing before ruling on the appeal.
Several celebrities and journalists from the network expressed their disappointment on social media.
“We voted for our lawmakers into power hoping that they wil act for the greater good. But what happened today? What happened to the 13 hearings? ABS-CBN proved na walang violations. Why are we experiencing this?,” tweeted actress Kim Chiu.
Fellow actress Liza Soberano felt for the more than 11,000 who are in danger of losing their jobs after the decision.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry they aren’t sorry. Wish I could hug everyone right now,” she said.
News anchor Karen Davila, who continues to work online, said: “Heartbroken but not crushed. Tomorrow is another day. Let’s keep the fire burning.”
The Human Rights Watch also condemned the decision, calling it a “grievous assault on press freedom in the country.”
“Not since the dictator Ferdinand Marcos shut down ABS-CBN and other media outlets in 1972 has a single government act caused so much damage to media freedom. This move solidifies the tyranny of President Rodrigo Duterte,” said Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director for Human Rights Watch.
The Palace distanced itself from the decision, calling it the sole responsibility of Congress. But President Rodrigo Duterte spoke several times in public against the network, threatening to block its franchise for supposedly not airing his 2016 campaign ads. (Katrina Elaine Alba/AGD)
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