ABS-CBN shuts down free legal and medical services unit

Published August 20, 2020, 3:06 PM

by James A. Loyola

ABS-CBN Tulong Center announced its closure this month after providing free legal and medical assistance to thousands of Filipinos for many years—another casualty of the non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise.

In an official statement posted on its Facebook page, the unit under ABS-CBN Integrated Public Service said that it is unable to continue its services after ABS-CBN was not given a new franchise.

The nonrenewal of the franchise has weighed down on some of ABS-CBN’s public service efforts like its Tulong Center, which has beneficiaries like children and adults seeking medical treatment, parents and workers asking for legal advice, and even overseas Filipino worker in need of rescue from her abusive employer in the Middle East.

Founded in 2014, the Tulong Center had provided free legal and medical assistance to almost 55,000 Filipinos, who sought help through phone, online, or by visiting its office inside the ABS-CBN Compound in Quezon City.

ABS-CBN Foundation has also felt the impact of the ABS-CBN franchise denial.  While it will continue its flagship programs Sagip Kapamilya, Bantay Bata 163, and Bantay Kalikasan, ABS-CBN Foundation announced that some services will have to be discontinued or limited.

For one, Bantay Bata 163 will lose its provincial offices as ABS-CBN shuts down its regional operations starting September.

Apart from the ABS-CBN Tulong Center and the ABS-CBN Foundation, Filipinos also lost different ABS-CBN current affairs shows that directly provided life-changing services to the public.

Prior to the shutdown, pioneering medical show “Salamat Dok!” conducted weekly medical missions for Filipinos that could not afford medical checkups and treatments.

“My Puhunan” held free livelihood seminars through its Kabuhayan Caravan, “SOCO” would visit schools and communities for crime prevention seminars, while “Mission Possible” sought and provided help for the inspiring Filipinos it would feature every week.

Also affected are other public service events under ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs (INCA) that serve thousands of Filipinos every year, such as the “HaPinay Convention” of DZMM TeleRadyo and “Umagang Kay Ganda,” DZMM’s TLC (Teaching, Learning, & Caring) classroom-on-wheels and clinic-on-wheels, Kapamilya Day, Global Pinoy Idol, Maligayang Paslit, Red Alert Emergency Expo, and the annual INCA Grand Kapamilya Christmas Fair. 

ABS-CBN Regional’s iconic public service event “Grand Halad sa Kapamilya,” as well as its public service projects and relief efforts, will also bid goodbye as the shutdown impaired the network’s regional operations.

Still, despite the setbacks, ABS-CBN said it has not stopped serving the Filipino, especially as the nation continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The ABS-CBN Foundation-led “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig: Isang Daan. Isang Pamilya.” has already helped feed over 880,000 families and delivered medical supplies to over 100 hospitals.