[BICOL TODAY STATEMENT]
There were times when President Duterte urgently needed the media to know what has been happening around, and by a click of finger, he got the news he wanted to know.
The same is true when the entire nation watched nervously on what has been going on at Taal Volcano, and the fate of the Batangas people who has been sacrificed and, for them, to endure the lockdown of their towns.
The threat in the country by the coronavirus that has been causing illness and deaths in Wuhan, China, the Filipino people turn to media for updated information.
ABS-CBN has been fulfilling its corporate mandate as the purveyor of news and issues of public interest. It has been doing its mission since the time it was founded.
This media organization has been at the front seat, becoming a spectator, on the unfolding and developing of events that would have significant historical value in the future, and reporting these events at the receiving room of every Juan and Juana in the country. It has been doing well its homework, ready to inform the nation at the immediate time possible.
Why close the ABS-CBN when it is doing its job and service to the Filipino people, the public and private sectors? Why stop the horse when it has been galloping and, instead, replace it with a new untested horse?
We strongly urge the legislators to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN. And, for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to step back and think again before pouring out his hatred toward this media organization.
We suspect Duterte’s intention to axe ABS-CBN is to smoothen the path for his favored cronies and rising, new breed of oligarchs which have the intention to grab a secured niche in the media industry. To consolidate their power, these emerging oligarchs must control media, and eliminate the media groups who, they perceive, are “unmanageable, uncooperative, and independently motivated.”
Let’s fight for Press freedom. Freedom of the press is not given, it is fought for and attained with honor, respect, and deeply valued.