Members of the Philippine film and television community are appealing to lawmakers to think of the greater good and ensure that ABS-CBN Corp.’s legislative franchise is renewed to prevent thousands of job losses.
In an open letter to Congress, actresses, actors, directors, writers, music composers, cinematographers, lighting directors, production designers, art directors, producers, staff and crew from ABS-CBN Corp. expressed deep concern over the freezing of a bill that seeks to renew the network’s franchise.
Non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, which will expire in March 2020, means the Lopez-led media giant will have to close shop.
They asked lawmakers to stay objective as they noted mass media’s capability to bring information to people.
“Losing one of just a few national mass media organizations (TV/Radio) that we have will impact on the very reason why information and communication is vital to the building of a great nation. It will deprive people of choices, of another source of FREE access to information, knowledge and entertainment,” they said.
They said the closure of ABS-CBN would displace thousands of “families, especially those who are still providing for their children’s education up to college.”
“It is, therefore, our hope and prayer that ABS-CBN shall weather this storm that has befallen upon the organization without losing its integrity; and that our good congressmen/women in the House of Representatives shall consider the greater good while upholding the right of media/art organizations to decide the path it should take as part of its constitutional right to freedom of speech, of expression and of the press,” they said.
President Duterte earlier threatened to block ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal as he recalled an incident during the 2016 presidential campaign wherein the network refused to run his political ads.
“Whatever is the issue regarding the campaign TV ad, we believe, must be resolved legally without affecting the entire organization,” they said.