Three of the country’s most active environmental groups denounced the shutdown of ABS-CBN Corporation by the National Telecommunications Commission, emphasizing the importance of the services provided by the network in this time of pandemic.
In a statement, Green Thumb Coalition (GTC) considered ABS-CBN’s closure as a form of deprivation of information among grassroots communities in the country, mainly because many Filipinos rely heavily on ABS-CBN for their daily news.
“There are not a few grassroots communities across the archipelago whose news source is only ABS-CBN, and are now unjustly deprived of a much-needed lifeline,” GTC said.
For an environmental group like GTC, the closure was also tantamount to censorship of its movements, as it “gagged the voices of communities ravaged by environmentally destructive projects like mining and coal plants.”
Greenpeace Philippines, meanwhile, said that the network’s shutdown is “doubly worrying” as the closure “comes during the COVID-19 crisis when vigilance to protect people’s rights and access to information are most needed.”
Greenpeace likewise mentioned that media institutions such as ABS-CBN are valuable partners for civil society organizations like them, especially in making their advocacies heard.
EcoWaste Coalition, on the other hand, underscored the Kapamilya network’s public service efforts, not only in delivering news and updates about the health crisis but also in handing help to the sectors of the society that were adversely affected by the virus.
“ABS-CBN, as countless beneficiaries can attest, has not only provided essential information service during the COVID-19 outbreak but extended much-needed emergency food assistance to poor and hungry citizens in collaboration with local authorities,” the group said in a statement.
The group also stated that the CDO against the network was “grossly ill-conceived and reprehensively ill-timed,” as Filipinos “avail of the service and network of ABS-CBN as a platform to discuss issues of public concern and safety.”
Despite the shutdown, ABS-CBN continues to air updates on the COVID-19 pandemic through ABS-CBN News’ online platforms, including its Facebook and YouTube channels.