When one closes — another opens
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2020 - 12:00am

While most people have focused on the “Unfair” or politicized closure of ABS-CBN, I must confess that my greater concern has been for the thousands of employees of the network who now find themselves unemployed at the worst possible time in their lives. It is particularly tragic to find your self, unemployed and forced to dip into whatever savings you may have. But what makes the picture even darker is the thought that you don’t have many options or companies to transfer to in what has remained a small community and industry. Even before the Covid pandemic, there were already a number of down sizing, early retirements and retrenchments all around the broadcast industry. So the suggestion of an obviously ignorant and insensitive politician or government official for employees to simply transfer or move on was callous to the core.

As I think of my friends and former associates in ABS CBN, allow me to share a few lessons from the past that you might be able to learn from. When Martial Law was declared in 1972, my father Louie Beltran ended at the Crame Hilton as a detainee. Dad was released four months later, Jobless, “Unemployable” (because Malacañang frowned on it) and faced with the reality of feeding five kids. He and my mother Marita acted immediately, all the cars were sold and alongside that all the paintings, antiques, furnishings and jewelry. Last but definitely not the least, they sold our property next door that housed my father’s fighting cocks. Then the space behind our house became pens and kennels for fighting cocks and Dobermans because from a media, we were now going into selling Dobermans and fighting cocks.

It was only after four years I think that my dad finally landed real jobs such as ghost writing, doing advertising copy and a host of other small stuff. It was not easy, but it allowed us to keep our pride and our honor. Martial Law caused a shaking in all our lives that for the most part got rid of the trappings, illusions, idols and non-essentials. But by God’s grace we came out stronger, tougher and resilient.

In contrast during Martial Law, a gentleman named Ronnie Nathanielz was a very prominent and visible TV personality both in sports and in politics. He even had the distinct honor to spar with Ninoy Aquino to talk about politics and Ferdinand Marcos. I in turn got to interview Ronnie when I was still connected with ANC & ABS CBN and the most memorable part of our talk was when he shared what became of his life after Marcos fell from power. It was now his turn and like those before him, he lost it all. He even went as far as buying and selling pork in the public market. If I remember it correctly he would be driving around in a jeep with the slaughtered pig or carcass in the back. He did what he had to do in the “good time” as well as in the bad. He ultimately got his game back and concentrated on his first love: Sports.

It is often said, “When one door closes – another opens”. In my life, the first thing I’ve learned is to obey GOD’s leading. I’ve quit jobs, I’ve been fired from jobs for standing my ground, I’ve lost jobs and I’ve been robbed of jobs. I can tell you with certainty that if you are willing to listen, watch and see, GOD will show you or teach you the good things or reasons that come from those situations. A number of people who opposed me or undermined me eventually became brothers or sisters in the faith. I walked away from jobs only to see much later that the business folded up or circumstance putting a stop to a project or a job. Some have sabotaged my work and efforts only for them to end up losing more than I did.

At this point allow me to share my story. After a challenging and difficult 7-year stint at ABS CBN, I realized that my anger and frustration had started to get the best of me. I remember asking “Bad na ba ako?” referring to my disposition and attitude at work. Someone said, “Yes, because you enter happy and you leave mad”. Hearing that, I told the team: “Tomorrow is the last show. No goodbyes no final episode”. I went to the office of Gabby Lopez for an exit interview that I requested and we cleared up many things and although he asked me to stay, I told him I couldn’t because I had already announced my departure. That was on a Friday afternoon.

I had no exit plan. I had no fall back. But having GOD, I had all I needed.

After three days, I went to the Tuesday Club gathering of Mr. Max Soliven at EDSA Shangri-La hotel to speak to someone who had questions of faith and morality. At some point, I bumped into Butch Raquel who was the head of Corporate Communications for GMA-7 and in our pleasantries I casually mentioned I had just recently left ABS-CBN. After that I carried on speaking with the person I came to talk to while Butch went over to Manong Max. All I remember was Max Soliven gently tapping a wine glass like they do during weddings, he cleared his throat and said: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I just want to introduce the newest columnist of the Philippine Star – Cito Beltran”.

That was no small door that God opened. He has repeatedly opened other doors. All you need to do is Trust God, believe he will open doors and make sure it is his will not yours. Remember most of the people GOD used in the Bible were not applicants! Reflect on the meaning of that!

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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