Online petition for ABS-CBN franchise gets 1M signatures in 24 hours
In this January 23, 2020 photo, members of the ABS-CBN union join a vigil and signature campaign urging the renewal of the network's franchise.
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Facebook page
Online petition for ABS-CBN franchise gets 1M signatures in 24 hours
(Philstar.com) - May 24, 2020 - 12:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — Less than 24 hours were all an online petition by broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corporation’s employees’ union needed to gain one million signatures, an amount it garnered practically overnight. 

The petition, which was addressed to House lawmakers, was launched on Friday, May 22 and saw friends and family members of some 11,000 workers in the employ of the network calling for the immediate renewal of the company’s legislative franchise.

Its previous franchise expired on May 4, leading to the National Telecommunications Commission issuing a cease and desist order on the network’s broadcast services the following day. 

They have been off the air since then. 

Both House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig) and President Rodrigo Duterte — running mates in the 2016 polls — have expressed personal grievances against the network.

The president said last year that ABS-CBN's franchise would not be renewed if it were up to him. The Palace has said recently that the chief executive was now neutral towards the issue after maintaining that it had nothing to do with the petition against ABS-CBN. 

The administration enjoys a supermajority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, where proposals for a 25-year franchise are set to be tackled instead of the five-month provisional franchise as initially sought. 

“We are among the thousands who are worried and will be affected if ABS-CBN shuts down. We all have families who depend on our work,” the petition read. 

“We want ABS-CBN to continue its operations, not only because it serves as our main source of livelihood, but because for most of us, the company’s happy working environment and the management’s fair practices have encouraged us to continue to be in the service of the Filipino.”

READ: Layoffs loom at ABS-CBN by August if broadcast not resumed

The company has said that it may be forced to retrench some of its workers in August if it is unable to resume its free channel and radio broadcast operations soon.

Labor group Defend Jobs Philippines, citing figures from ABS-CBN's report to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Philippine Stock Exchange, said earlier that the company employed 6,730 regular employees, 900 non-regular workers and more than 3,325 talents as of the end of 2018.

Some of ABS-CBN's artists have rallied their fans and followers to support the petition.

The petition has amassed 1,206,702 signatories as of this post and can be accessed through kapamilyaforever.com. — Franco Luna with reports from Kristine Joy Patag

ABS-CBN CORPORATION ABS-CBN FRANCHISE
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