Artists, personalities show support for ABS-CBN amid shutdown order



MANILA, Philippines, May 6 ------ Artists and personalities – including celebrities from ABS-CBN's rival networks – came together to support the media company, after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered its closure following the expiration of its media franchise. Spoken word poet Juan Miguel Severo retweeted the news on his Twitter account, with the upside-down-emoji smiley face. In a later tweet, he said "puwedeng magsugal ang mga Tsino pero bawal magbalita ang mga Filipino." Actress Janine Gutierrez, who is signed with ABS-CBN's rival network GMA, didn't outright mention ABS-CBN, but tweeted a quote on press freedom from philosopher Hannah Arendt. "The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; How can you have an opinion if you are not informed?" the quote read. Maine Mendoza, whose shows air over GMA, also tweeted 3 heart emojis, corresponding to the ABS-CBN logo's colors. Talent manager Pia Magalona tweeted part of a video with her late husband, rapper Francis Magalona. She shared part of the song's lyrics and added the hashtag #NoToABSCBNShutdown.mSinger and influencer Janina Vela said "why is a network that has done so much for Filipinos, providing 11k+ jobs, info (esp in this pandemic), and entertainment being shut down...but POGO disregards our country’s laws AND YET is still allowed to run free & continue operations?" At the same time, singer and activist Leah Navarro said "The closure of ABS-CBN operations isn’t just about losing your favorite TV shows. This is about Duterte’s govt going back on its word, and the muzzling of a free press. #DefendPressFreedom #NoToABSCBNShutDown" The Concerned Artists of the Philippines issued a collective statement on the shutdown, calling it "a malicious attack on freedom of expression, the press, and the livelihood of media and creative industry workers." "This threatens our right to information, economic security of our media and creative industry workers, collective capacity for truth checking, and freedom of expression," they said, while appealing for the network's franchise extension. Singer Dingdong Avanzado said the move was "unbelievable," and "utterly shameful," especially during the coronavirus pandemic. "Para sa malayang pamamahayag #notoABSCBNShutdown," he said on Instagram. On May 5, the NTC issued a cease and desist order against the media company, directing it to halt television and radio broadcasting operations. In 1995, the network was granted a franchise to operate for 25 years, but Congress did not act on its renewal. The franchise expired on May 4. In the Philippines, broadcast companies such as radio and television networks must obtain a franchise from Congress under Republic Act No. 3846. Source: rappler.com/entertainment