The annual ABS-CBN Christmas Special was a festive spectacle featuring a star-studded ensemble of the best and brightest Kapamilya celebrities. But with President Duterte’s fresh threat to block ABS-CBN’s franchise in 2020, does this mean that this is the end of the road for our favorite Kapamilya stars too?
As seen in the Christmas Special that aired over the weekend, the biggest names in the entertainment industry call ABS-CBN their home. Television, film, and music legends like KathNiel, Vice Ganda, Sarah Geronimo, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, and more are loved by legions of viewers. This is why thousands of netizens on Twitter bravely spoke up against President Rodrigo Duterte for vowing to block ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal that is set to expire next year.
As a form of online protest, netizens quickly made the hashtag #NoToABSCBNShutdown top Twitter trends in their collective effort to defend the network, its stars, and employees.
@DanSantos8 voiced out that the president is abusing his power to exact revenge on the network. “Duterte holds a grudge against ABS-CBN for allegedly not airing his campaign ad. Flimsy excuse! The livelihood of more than 10,000 workers and their families are at stake. This is an abuse of power to settle a personal score. Reason not rage! #NoToABSCBNShutdown.”
As for Twitter user @JaneAna10, Duterte is waging a personal vendetta at the expense of the livelihood of thousands of workers. “Our president could not set aside his personal sentiments with the company [ABS-CBN]. He will just shut off the company without thinking about the thousands of employees that will lose their jobs.”
Meanwhile, @AquijoVincent tweeted that if there were indeed violations done by the network, due process must be sought instead of blocking its franchise renewal. “ABS-CBN is not just a TV station, it is a culture, it is a tradition. Even if we Filipinos can now watch tons of channels, we always look for that distinct ABS-CBN flavor. Due process instead should be served if they violated. #NoToABSCBNShutdown.”
Another Twitter user, @AdoraAbi, shared that Duterte’s headstrong stance on closing down ABS-CBN is a ‘move to suppress the media.’ “Shutting down ABS-CBN sends a strong message to all media in the Philippines to be cautious and report only what the government sees favorable otherwise, their companies might be shut down too. It’s a move to suppress the media. #NoToABSCBNShutdown.”
Twitter user @catevlnc also reminded people of the positive impact of ABS-CBN in the country through its public service projects in its 65 years of operation. “Saying ‘yes’ to ABS-CBN shutdown is equivalent to the shutdown of their foundations and free public services. Child Welfare Projects like Bantay Bata? Rehabilitation Projects? Relief Operations? Disaster Risk Reduction etc.? #NoToABSCBNShutdown.”
Right now, the dreadful possibility of the network’s non-renewal is not as felt because march 2020 is still a couple of months away. But imagine if this nightmare will really happen. We will no longer see our favorite teleseryes. We will no longer feel the kilig and magic brought by the hottest kapamilya love teams. We will no longer catch our favorite kapamilya artists showcase their world-class talent. The world of Philippine media and entertainment will never be the same.
Let’s see in 2020 if the fans of ABS-CBN and its stars will unite to keep the network from closing down.
Meanwhile, more lawmakers have pushed for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise including Sen. Ralph Recto, Deputy Speaker Rep. Rose Marie “Baby” Arenas, Deputy Speaker Rep. Johnny Pimentel, Deputy Speaker Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Rep. Paulino Salvador Leachon, Rep. Myra Joy Tambunting, Rep. Paulino Salvador, Rep. Sol Aragones, Rep. Micaela Violago, and Rep. Vilma Santos.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III also assured the public that ‘there is enough time’ to tackle ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bill. Congress will resume on January 20, 2020.