DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A Mindanao-wide Black Friday protest led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) chapters was held last Feb. 28 to show solidarity to the broadcasting network ABS-CBN which is facing a debacle on its franchise renewal which will lapse on March.
They gathered for a candle lighting activity in front of various ABS-CBN stations in Mindanao, particularly in Davao City, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga del Sur, and Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
The activity was held simultaneously with protest action on the ABS-CBN main station in Quezon City, which had gained grounds since last week’s protest that gathered thousands.
The NUJP-Davao chapter, in a statement, stressed the importance of gathering bigger support against the “attack” on the press, such as the issue of ABS-CBN, which is also facing a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida to revoke the network’s franchise.
“If a government official like the President can attack a big media network just because he was offended by how the ABS-CBN ‘treated’ him during the last election, the NUJP worries that this could also be done especially to critical community media organizations, which on the other hand, couldn’t mobilize such big support when they are being attacked,” NUJP-Davao said.
ABS-CBN’s executives and personnel faced a Senate hearing on Monday, where they clarified issues of taxes, labor conditions, pay-per-view service, and Philippine Depositary Receipts. They also apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte over election ads in 2016 elections.
Duterte, on Wednesday, accepted the apology of the executives of ABS-CBN, but said that its franchise renewal is up to the Congress.
However, the House of Representatives is still sitting on pending bills for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, while House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said that they will likely delay the hearings until May or August.
The NUJP already submitted to the Congress, a partial list of 200,000 signatures from petitioners seeking to renew the franchise of the network. (davaotoday.com)