âDeeply hurtâ ABS-CBN to continue public service
An ABS-CBN employee is overcome with emotion as workers and artists rally outside the TV station’s compound in Quezon City after a House committee voted to deny the network a franchise yesterday.
Boy Santos

‘Deeply hurt’ ABS-CBN to continue public service

Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Media giant ABS-CBN Corp. vowed to find ways to continue its mission of “being in the service of the Filipino,” after the House committee on legislative franchises yesterday denied the network’s bid to renew its franchise.

ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak said the company is “deeply hurt” by the decision denying the network’s franchise application as it believes that the broadcast giant has been “rendering service that is meaningful and valuable to the Filipino public.”?

“We remain committed to public service, and we hope to find other ways to achieve our mission. Together with our employees and our audiences all over the world, we share in your sadness over this setback. We look forward to the day when we can again reunite under our broadcast,” Katigbak said.

The ABS-CBN official nonetheless expressed his gratitude to the committee for allowing them a chance to air their side on all the issues raised against the company, as well as to all the congressmen who supported the network’s bid for franchise renewal.

“We also thank everyone who expressed their support and offered their prayers for us. We could not have gotten to this point without you,” he said.

In a televised ambush interview, Ernie Lopez, Bantay Bata executive director and younger brother of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez, said he believes that the vote against the network’s franchise is “highly political.”

“In my personal eyes, I cannot represent my family, I cannot represent ABS-CBN, it looks highly political. Highly, highly political. But that being said, I respect their decisions and I respect what they have done. I will accept it. It’s painful, no doubt about it. But the law is the law,” he said, stressing that his views do not represent the company or his family.

In an interview with Teleradyo, ABS-CBN head of integrated news and current affairs Ging Reyes said they respect the decision of the committee if it thinks that ABS-CBN does not deserve a franchise.

Reyes said ABS-CBN would still continue to deliver and gather news to aid in enlightenment of issues that affect the public amid current limitations.

“However, we know that we will have limited budget, reach and revenue and because of that, what we can do will be reduced. We have to adjust to this new normal. It will not be that easy to produce programs,” she said.

Asked about the impact of the House committee on legislative franchises’ decision to press freedom, Reyes said “every closure of a private broadcasting company has an impact on press freedom.”

“We cannot deny that press freedom is not only for us, but is also for everyone. We want our audience to have a choice in what they will watch, in what they will read,” she said.

Lopez, in a separate interview with Teleradyo, said he does not think that ABS-CBN can do its job properly “when our job is to call out wrongdoings and shortcomings of the very people who hold our existence in their hands.”

“It doesn’t seem to make sense to me because there’s an inherent conflict there. I don’t think we can do our job well if we are constantly afraid that our existence is going to be annihilated whenever we call somebody’s attention on something they’ve done wrong,” Lopez said.

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