How Paulo Avelino spends his quarantine
STARCIRCUIT - Ricky Calderon (The Freeman) - July 31, 2020 - 12:00am

If you have been wondering what keeps Paulo Avelino busy during this time of pandemic, the Gawad Urian best actor awardee is focused on his media company, WASD Films, which is producing a series for iWantTV and also tapping into E-Sports and livestreaming like Lupon of Kuya Nic and Execration.

In a Facebook messenger interview, Paulo said he had always been a gamer, so during the ECQ he was able to finish some games he was hoping to play when he has the extra time.

Several of his upcoming or ongoing projects were affected by the lockdown. His work schedule for the year was full until the end of the year but the lockdown turned it into disarray.

How did you deal with it?

“I had to accept the fact that it wasn’t in anyone’s control. I couldn’t stand the fact that I had to continue working only to see someone getting sick. It would devastate me.”

What is the first thing you plan to do once the lockdown is lifted?

“Not ‘do’ but ‘miss.’ I would miss waking up late and definitely miss playing games,” he said, adding that the first person he’d like to see after the lockdown is his son.

How has this lockdown affected you in a major way?

“I think it would be unfair for everyone to tell how my life was affected by it considering the lives and livelihood of our fellow Filipinos who are terribly affected by this pandemic. My story is nothing compared to them.”

Paulo is currently taping for a new television show for ABS-CBN called “Walang Hanggang Paalam.”

“It’s the show we were doing when the pandemic struck. Taping is very different due to the pandemic. We had to shoot out of town under very strict protocols.”

***

Citizen volunteers launched on Friday, July 24,  the People’s Initiative for Reforms and Movement for Action or PIRMA Kapamilya to get ABS-CBN back on air. This comes on the heels of the House of Representatives denying the franchise renewal of the broadcast network. The group laments Congress’ vote to deny ABS-CBN’s franchise which left many Filipinos not only jobless at the height of this pandemic but also deprived citizens of their fundamental right to information.

Activating Section 32, Article VI, in relation to Section 1, Article VI, of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, PIRMA aims to gather seven million signatures nationwide in order to grant ABS-CBN a ‘people’s franchise’ and allow it “to operate and maintain, for commercial purposes and in the public interest, radio and/or television broadcasting stations in the Philippines, including a digital television system.”

To be successful, the people’s initiative requires the signatures of at least 3 percent of registered voters in each legislative district and at least 10 percent of total registered voters in the country. After these have been duly validated by COMELEC, a plebiscite shall be called which will need a majority of votes cast to approve the proposed bill.

While it acknowledges the challenges that the initiative may face, PIRMA Kapamilya remains undaunted and is buoyed by the popular public support that ABS-CBN enjoys. The group believes that the cause is fueled by the voice and clamor of the people. An SWS survey in early July revealed that an overwhelming 75 percent of Filipinos want the ABS-CBN franchise renewed while 56 percent agree that its shutdown was a ‘blow to press freedom.’

In a manifesto earlier released, the group seeks to reclaim the power of the citizenry, claiming that “duly-elected congressmen abused their privilege and instead used their office for their own selfish interests. There was definitely no legal justification that deserved the death sentence of ABS-CBN, its thousands of workers, and their families.”

The group has launched its petition and the proposed franchise law. These can be downloaded from www.pirma.ph and their social media pages called PIRMA Kapamilya.

Citizens can now start affixing their signatures on a printed copy. They are now finding ways to provide these print-outs to hard-to-reach areas, identify drop-off centers, and to partner with grassroots organizations and sectoral groups in gathering the signatures. The group was quick to remind the public to observe health safety protocols at all times.

Disassociating itself from ABS-CBN, the independent, non-partisan, and organic group is driven by volunteers. Its co-conveners include UP law professor and former Undersecretary Herminio “Third” Bagro III; lawyer, FEU-IL professor, and reform advocate Eirene Jhone Aguila; entrepreneur and public interest lawyer Dino de Leon, UP law professor and human rights advocate Mike Tiu, youth governance advocate Allan Pangilinan, and Ateneo School of Government professor of praxis and business consultant Leon Flores III, among others.

PAULO AVELINO
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