ABS-CBN’s commitment to be in the service of the Filipino sees no end, as evident in its initiatives to help Filipinos and the government during this pandemic despite being ordered to halt broadcast operations by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) early last week.
One of the case studies featured on TV Patrol is Reynaldo Alcala, a taxi driver who couldn’t hold back tears while airing his sentiments about how severely impacted they will be by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which was put in effect the day before the interview happened.
“Magugutom talaga kami ‘pag hindi kami bumiyahe, dahil wala kaming pera, wala kaming pambiling bigas,” he said in a TV Patrol interview. “Mahirap ‘pag mahirap, walang pagkukunan. Ang kailangan, pagkain.”
Tatay Reynaldo has since been the image of struggling Filipinos due to the implementation of ECQ, which prompted ABS-CBN to immediately respond and contribute in extending assistance through its “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” campaign launched in partnership with the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) on March 19.
Through funds contributed by Filipinos from all over the world and the Lopez Group of Companies’ initial P100 million donation, the “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” campaign has now raised over P377 million, which will be used to purchase products that will be turned over to local government units (LGUs) for their distribution to their constituents, aiding more or less than 702,000 families.
“Sana po ay magtuloy-tuloy lang ang pagtulong nila hanggang sa makakaya nila, kasi kung sino man ‘yung may kakayanan na tumulong, sana po’y ‘wag silang magsawang magbigay ng tulong sa kapwa,” said Valleriano Aguilar, a fisherman in Isla Sta. Cruz in Bulacan and one of the beneficiaries of the “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” campaign in a TV Patrol report.
“Syempre kahit may mga budget po kami, eh hindi pa po rin sasapat kaya nagpapasalamat talaga kami. Napakaganda ng proyekto na ito ng ABS-CBN. Talagang makakatulong po ito, mae-extend pa ang kung anong mayroon kami sa local government,” added Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto Rubiano in a separate TV Patrol report.
The “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” campaign has also extended assistance to thousands of frontliners and volunteers who are braving the dangers of COVID-19 by providing them with PPEs, personal hygiene kits, and gloves, as well as free meals and snacks with the help of partner organizations.
ABS-CBN’s support to the government’s fight against COVID-19 can also be demonstrated through its “Ligtas Pilipinas” campaign, an information drive which intends to communicate significant facts and measures about COVID-19 to the public through videos featuring Kuya Kim Atienza and other Kapamilya stars presented on radio, TV, and online.
With all this, it is really not surprising that, according to a source, the Department of Health (DOH) reportedly said its gratitude to ABS-CBN for its continuous support and assistance to the agency by allotting free air time during its press briefings and other reports regarding the pandemic. The agency is reportedly open and looking forward to collaborate with ABS-CBN and its talents for their future campaigns.
This support to the government can be further affirmed by ABS-CBN‘s intensive media coverage to the COVID-19 pandemic by reporting on the latest developments about the health crisis since its inception in the country. ABS-CBN News’ reporter Raphael Bosano and ABS-CBN DocuCentral even produced “Heroes in the Hot Zone,” a documentary which sought to shed light on the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the lives of Filipinos through the eyes of our medical frontliners.
While ABS-CBN has not let the cease and desist order by the NTC stop the network’s mission of bringing relief to Filipinos in need, we can just wonder how much more help ABS-CBN could provide the government if it has been allowed to broadcast freely while its franchise renewal is still pending in the Congress.
Ultimately, ABS-CBN has established its crucial role in delivering vital news and information to the public about COVID-19 through its free TV and radio channels and the influence of its stars.
The public will definitely benefit more from the network’s services if their franchise is renewed, so we hope the Congress acts swiftly on this matter especially at a time where Filipinos need access to information from trusted sources, and all the help it can get to survive the pandemic.