ABS-CBN is at the other front confronting this virus plague trying to downplay the fear and despair threatening to seize the nation. Probably for the first time in its history, the huge network has turned away from putting to task the government even in the midst of a huge crisis that has exposed its complacency and irresponsibility. It has somehow confined itself to daily and developing stories without as much as its characteristic adversarial bluntness against Malacanang.
“(I)t is the Lowest House – I mean, Lower – that actually played its role to the hilt by deliberately delaying the renewal of ABS’ operating franchise by sitting on some nine bills for its renewal since 2014.”
Sol-Gen. Calidan has been apparently speaking for President Duterte, putting his foot down that the major broadcast network can no longer operate without provisional authority from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). He also thumbed down the agreement between NTC and the plodding House of Representatives on extended operations for ABS-CBN while its application for franchise renewal remains pending. It does seem that the President has not obtained sufficient covert submission from network owner Gabby Lopez.
Meanwhile, DDS trolls are having a blast against ABS-CBN, brandishing on social media that it got what it long deserved, as the uneducated, the moronic and the scums this side of the planet are celebrating anew, fuelled with P50,000 to P70,000 each a month.
The President apologizes to the Ayalas and to Manny Pangilinan for his incessant insults against the tycoons triggered by lopsided state contracts signed during the previous administrations and, the following day, Sol-Gen Jose Calida orders the NTC to shut down ABS-CBN.
Some senators suspect that Duterte’s appeasement came partly by way of one of them turning into a rat against Lopez and his other companies. Personal agenda against ABS-CBN has turned into a political high-handedness in preparation for the national elections in 2022. And it seems Duterte was willing to risk a surging tremendous multi-sectoral backlash with the network’s forced cessation of operations and 11,000 employees thrown out into the streets.
How else can he explain that, in the middle of this pandemic that has not stopped taking his people’s lives, the country’s leading broadcaster is compelled to withdraw from the ” war” and surrender its crucial and selfless role in preventing the virus spread and providing aid to the hungry thousands?
The KBP, the National Union of Journalists (NUJP) and the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) have issued very strong separate statements condemning the NTC order. The Senate and the Department of Justice had not been remiss in endorsing a provisional authority from the NTC, but it is the Lowest House – I mean, Lower – that actually played its role to the hilt by deliberately delaying the renewal of ABS’ operating franchise by sitting on some nine bills for its renewal since 2014.
Probinsyano star Coco Martin could not contain his anger and sent a signal to millions of his TV followers not to take the network closure sitting down, especially its dire impact on the hapless workers. His public statement reads in part: “Napakasakit ang ginawa ninyo sa mga Plilipino..Sa mga taong pilit nagsulong sa pagpapasara sa ABS-CBN, sana panatag na panatag na ang kalooban niyo. Mahirap magsawalang-kibo sa mga taong katulad ninyo na patuloy na nang-aabuso. Wala kayong mga konsensiya, naatim niyong pagkaitan ng hanapbuhay at pabayaang magutom ang ilang libong pamilya. Lalo nang lulubog sa kahirapan ang mga Pilipino… Hindi kayo ang mga taong dapat kinakausap ng maayos, ang dapat sa inyo tapatan ng kabastusan at kawalanghiya!!”
According to a former manager of the News and Public Affairs Division of PTV4, “The Duterte administration just sent a message as clear as crystal – it can destroy anyone.”
So many dreams have been snatched by the coronavirus – those of the best doctors and nurses at the peak of their careers with one of them succumbing to the virus in London, and in her dying breath declaring, “We fight while others cannot.”
Many families certainly do not understand the woeful turn of events in their lives. Being closely-knit has made it extremely difficult to accept the sudden loss of a loved one. Our families are not supposed to be the center of our lives, God is.
Indeed, there is a time for mourning but only God, as the Bible says, and not time who truly heals. The deep pain does not leave a prominent family of doctors and artists after losing their oldest brother, a medical director of a Metro Manila hospital, to COVID-19.
It was extra painful for a wife whose autistic son was particularly close to the father who became a virus fatality. The grieving wife or husband often yearns for “closure” and regrets there was none. They had wanted to say the proper and loving goodbyes.
Cecile Guidote-Alvarez was appalled when the body of husband, former Sen. Heherson Alvarez, was suddenly bundled up and taken to the crematorium. Many had something to say, like his side of a dozen family issues or their urge to straighten things out or simply ask for forgiveness on the phone with an intubated loved one their pride nurtured for many years vanishes.
Here on earth we don’t think much of what comes after we leave it, and when the time comes for people close to us we are befuddled and stunned by God’s ways which are suddenly mysterious, illogical and unsound.