Farmers urge public to continue resisting shutdown of ABS-CBN, defending democratic rights

Tutulan ang galawang diktador ni Duterte sa panahon ng pandemya
Farmers urge public to continue resisting shutdown of ABS-CBN, defending democratic rights

“We will never accept the fact that Channel 2 and DZMM —   ABS-CBN’s core broadcasting platforms are now off-the-air at a time when the public urgently needs reliable and relevant information on the COVID19 crisis. We are appalled that more than 11,000 employees of the network have become jobless at a time of worsened economic crisis brought about by the pandemic. This is the handiwork of the dictator in Malacanang whose sly moves led to the stopping of operations of ABS-CBN.”

“This move by the Duterte administration is a dictatorial move reminiscent of Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law declaration that has shut down free and democratic press and media across the country in 1972. Duterte cannot simply be a ‘neutral observer’ in the shutting down of ABS-CBN and claim that the decision on the network’s franchise renewal is for Congress to decide upon. The President himself led the attack against the media network from all fronts  —   Congress has blatantly delayed the ABS-CBN franchise renewal hearings, the Office of the Solicitor General arm-twisted the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against issuing a provisional authority for the network, and NTC eventually issued the cease-and-desist order. Duterte again took advantage of the pandemic situation and chose to strike hard at ABS-CBN to fulfill his dictatorial whims and the economic interests of his cronies,” says Rafael Mariano, chairperson Emeritus of KMP and president of Anakpawis Partylist.

“Acting like the vile dictator that he is, Duterte stifled press freedom and trampled upon the people’s sacred right to information. Masses and media consumers in the provinces rely on media including Channel 2 on free television, DZMM on the AM radio band, and local radio stations for news and information. Inalisan ng gobyerno ng karapatan sa impormasyon ang milyong-milyong Pilipino at pinatay ang kabuhayan ng libu-libong mga manggagawa ng ABS-CBN. Hindi natin ito matatanggap,” Mariano added.

The KMP and Anakpawis leader further said that the timing of the NTC order is also suspect as it came right after President Duterte publicly apologized and sought the support of big businesses like the Ayalas and Manny Pangilinan. “Duterte is obviously consolidating his economic and political entrench and gathering allies who will support his dictatorship. It is also public knowledge that Duterte and his crony Dennis Uy are interested in buying out and controlling ABS-CBN.”

“As if the militarist and repressive actions in response to the health crisis are not enough, Duterte wielded an iron-hand and struck at a major pillar of press freedom and democracy in the country. This situation calls for a strong public outrage and response. We urge everyone to continue sounding the alarm and resisting these tyrannical moves from Malacanang. We must safeguard our remaining democratic rights,” the KMP leader concluded. ###

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