ABS-CBN shutdown a loss for Filipinos in remote areas and abroad — Migrante

ABS-CBN shutdown a loss for Filipinos in remote areas and abroad â Migrante
The National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) ordered a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN Corp. after the expiration of the latter's congressional franchise, whose renewal President Duterte often threatened to block.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The government's cease and desist order on ABS-CBN would deprive Filipinos in the provinces and abroad of access to important information and could deprive thousands of workers their livelihoods, OFW alliance Migrante International slammed the move.

Migrante International said that the cease and desist order was not only an attack on press freedom, but also an act of hostility against the broadcast giant's 11,000 employees and their livelihoods as well. 

"In many provinces outside of Metro Manila, ABS-CBN is the only TV station available on air. Tens of millions are now without access to important news and information at a time when COVID-19 is ravaging the country," their statement also read.

"For OFWs and their families, the ABS-CBN shutdown is Duterte’s way of clamping down on media entities exposing his extortionate agenda against OFWs as in the mandatory Philhealth exaction and premium rate hike," Migrante International chairperson Joanna Concepcion also said.

In a recent circular, PhilHealth increased the mandatory contribution of OFWs earning from P10,000 to P60,000 monthly income to 3% starting this year.

"The closure of the Philippines’ largest network comes at a time when the Duterte regime is repelling enormous criticisms due to the Philhealth controversy."

"In places where communication signals are too weak, watching ABS-CBN’s TV programs could be the only way for them to keep track of the general situation in places, whether it be in the Philippines or abroad, where their loved ones live."

CEGP: Threat exteends to community, campus press

CEGP said President Rodrigo Duterte's threats against ABS-CBN and the eventual order to cease broadcasting "[unmasks] a conniving plot against the network that if left unchecked cascades to allied media networks and to the most vulnerable alternative, community, and campus press."

"While arresting thousands of Filipinos under military lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, Duterte and his humbug minions draconianly proved that they want to fully silence the press and steal thousands of livelihoods of more than 11,000 workers without even providing enough financial and medical aid amid COVID-19," said CEGP national president Daryl Angelo Baybado in the group's statement. 

"The regime's shameless attack on press freedom and persecution of media practitioners who are staunch critics of Duterte regime and his gross negligence in handling the coronavirus pandemic are concrete manifestations of his looming dictatorship," he added.

"Duerte's cease and desist order is a dictator's clear weapon to repress the freedom of the press."  — Franco Luna




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