By Leslie Ann Aquino
Defend Jobs Philippines said it will continue to call for the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN despite the approval of House Bill 6732 granting the broadcast network a provisional franchise to operate until October 31, 2020.
“Our calls for franchise renewal of ABS-CBN will not be silenced by the House approval of HB6732,” said Thadeus Ifurung, Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson, in a statement.
He said more online and offline protests will be held in the coming days for the sake of the network’s 11,000 workers and the country’s state of free press and the public’s right to information.
The labor group said that while they welcome the move of Congress, this is not enough.
“Interim franchises to operate for the Kapamilya network will not and will never be enough as the jobs and livelihoods of its 11,000 workers remain hostages by the government,” said Ifurung.
“If our legislators and the government are really serious to address the public clamor to save ABS-CBN workers and in defending press freedom and the people’s right to information, then they must expedite the process and grant a renewed fresh franchise for the Kapamilya network in the soonest possible time.” he added.
The National Alliance of Broadcast Unions — Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (NABU-SENTRO), meantime, urged the public as well as the ABS-CBN employees to continue making their opinions heard until a fresh franchise is granted.
“We urge the employees of ABS-CBN, their allied progressive movements, and the general public to continue our clamor for a formal franchise for ABS-CBN,” the group said.
“It is clear that the intense public clamor for defending ABS-CBN and the broader freedom of the press has had an effect on our honorable representatives,” added NABU-SENTRO.
The group said the fight should continue until a franchise that guarantees both the freedom of the press and workers’ rights under the present national situation is secured.