ABS-CBN shutdown is ‘anti-labor’ — Labor group

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo May 06,2020 - 11:00 AM

‘KEEP US IN YOUR THOUGHTS’ ABS-CBN employees light candles in solidarity as the network’s darkest hour came on Tuesday night. | Inquirer photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Progressive groups in Cebu has tagged the cease-and-desist order against media giant ABS-CBN as an attack to both press freedom and the labor sector and misdirected efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo – Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU) may put in peril the livelihood of more than 11,000 workers of the network, even while they are also struggling in the middle of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health crisis.

“With this closure, more than 11,000 workers will lose their only means of livelihood and this will add to the growing number of the working class who are in a worse state due to the effects of this pandemic. This move by the NTC is clearly anti-labor,” said AMA Sugbo-KMU Jaime Paglinawan.

In a separate statement, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Central Visayas said the closure shows how the government “wrongly sets its priorities in chasing its perceived enemies and immobilizing them rather than on hyping the socio-medical responses to curb the worsening effects of the pandemic.”

“Such an incompetence only creates more problems for in it emanated a decision that could displace more than 11,000 employees of the said network, and this amid the uncertainties of a pandemic,” Bayan CenVis said.

On Tuesday, May 5, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered the Kapamilya network to cease operations, effective immediately, “absent a valid Congressional Franchise required by law.”

The order came a day after ABS-CBN’s 25-year legislative franchise expired. Congress has not yet been able to act on several pending bills for the network’s franchise renewal which has been pending since 2016.

READ: Bong Go: ‘PRRD was deeply hurt’, urges co-lawmaker not to politicize ABS-CBN franchise renewal issue

The closure came despite NTC’s earlier commitment to Congress that they will give the network a provisional authority (PA)  to operate while the Lower House has not acted on the franchise renewal bills.

Last Sunday, May 3, Solicitor General Jose Calida warned the  NTC officials that they may be held answerable under the country’s anti-graft and corruption laws should they issue the “unlawful” PAs to ABS-CBN.

AMA Sugbo-KMU has called on Congress to already act on the pending bills for the network’s franchise renewal and for government officials “who still value the press and the people’s right to know to intervene” on the cease-and-desist order against the network.

“Now is not the time to prioritize silencing the press, nor is it the time to take away even more jobs during an economic crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19. The government should prioritize the lives of its people by securing their jobs,” Paglinawan added. /bmjo

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TAGS: ABS CBN shutdown, Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo - Kilusang Mayo Uno, AMA Sugbo-KMU, attack on labor sector, attack on press freedom, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan

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