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The Duterte Administration continues its attacks on press freedom and campaign against critical media, with the most recent: NTC issuing another cease and desist order against ABS-CBN subsidiary Sky Cable Corporation and its TV Plus Channels from broadcasting.

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With the shutdown of ABS-CBN last May 05, 2020, the Duterte Administration has taken great inaction in renewing its franchise. At present, the Administration is targeting ABS-CBN for possible violation against Labor Laws. Yet, such act false short of sincerity. With attacks against worker unions and known violation of labor rights under this Administration, it is clear that Duterte is trying to manipulate public opinion with the plight of contractual workers in its attempt to suppress press freedom.

This divide and conquer tactic the administration should not prevail. The struggle for press freedom has long been co-equal with the struggles of the working class. With members of the media currently fighting for their right to write, they too fight for the right for just wages and compensation for their services rendered.

This franchise renewal issue is not about the big names owning ABS-CBN. It is about the livelihood of over thousands of workers, and every government insincere actions on the franchise renewal is doing more harm than good to these people, especially with COVID-19 cases increasing in our country and information dissemination is critical the mose in these trying times. Adding the shut down of Sky Cable operations to that worsens the situation as it will affect thousands of people relying on TV plus and Sky Cable channels as source of news and entertainment; it can also extend to its internet service where people working from home and students currently having online classes and blended mode of learning could possibly be aggravated.

For Kabataan Partylist, with the increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country, millions are left without food and aid from the govenrment. Instead of adding more problems affecting the people, the Duterte Administration ought to exert all its time and efforts in resolving the issues brought about by COVID-19.

Mass testing, systematic contact tracing at and immediate aid is what the people need right now. Not the complete closure of ABS-CBN which would affect over 11,000 workers; and even moreso, the Anti Terror Bill.

We call on the youth and the people not to bend and bow to fear of this Administration. Now is the time to speak and continue to dissent and criticize this Administration for all its attacks to our democratic rights. As a civic duty, it is our responsibility to uphold our democratic rights. The Duterte Administration will never take this away from us, and we will fight for our rights until the very end.


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