MANILA, Philippines – Actress Angelica Panganiban reminded the public that as the country grapples with a pandemic, it’s the novel coronavirus and not media giant ABS-CBN that’s the enemy.
During a live Facebook stream dubbed “Laban Kapamilya,” on Tuesday, May 12, Angelica said during this time of crisis, the focus should be on the gaps in government response, especially those that affect the most vulnerable sectors.
The stream went live on fellow ABS-CBN actress Angel Locsin’s Facebook page. Last week, it was actress Kim Chiu who played host to a similar stream featuring different ABS-CBN stars.
ABS-CBN was forced to go off-air for the first time since Martial Law on May 5 after the government issued a cease and desist order against the network.
The shutdown happened just as parts of the Philippines – including Metro Manila where ABS-CBN is based in – had been on lockdown for nearly two months.
ABS-CBN’s franchise had expired because Congress failed to act on several pending bills that would have granted it a new franchise. In the Philippines, broadcast companies must secure a franchise from Congress to air.
“Tandaan sana natin na hindi ABS-CBN ang kalaban ngayon. Hindi po ang mga artista na nagpapahayag ng kanilang mga saloobin ang kalaban ngayon. Ang isyu ay free mass testing. Ang isyu ay ang pagbibigay ng ayuda para sa mga nangangailangan. Ang isyu ay ang pagiging handa ng ating healthcare system sa isang pandemiya. Ang isyu ay ang kawalan ng trabaho ng milyun-milyong Pilipino. Ang isyu ay kung saan kukuha ng pagkain ang bawat pamilya,” Angelica said.
(We have to remember that ABS-CBN is not the enemy. Celebrities who express their opinions are not the enemy. The issue here is the call to have free mass testing. The issue here is aid for those who need it. The issue here is our healthcare system’s capacity to respond to this pandemic. The issue here is that millions of Filipinos have lost their livelihoods. The issue here is where families can get food.)
“Hindi po ABS-CBN, virus po ang kalaban. Iyan ang kailangan pong sugpuin. Iyan ang kailangan nating sagutin,” she continued.
(The virus is the enemy, not ABS-CBN. That’s what we need to stop. That’s what we need to find solutions to.)
The actress also seemed to address both criticism and praise over how celebrities are grabbing headlines whenever they speak up on the franchise issue.
Angelica said she is well-aware of their responsibilities as public figures: “Ang hinahanap po sa amin ng mga aming tagapanood ay katotohanan. At iyon ay makakamit lamang po namin kung malaya po kaming gumagalaw sa isang espasyo ng pamamahayag.
(Our audience seeks the truth. And we can only speak the truth if we have space for free expression.)
“Naniniwala ako na mahalaga ang kalayaan para sa katulad kong artista – ang mapahayag ang aking saloobin nang buong tapang at walang halong takot. At bilang isang artista ng bayan, tayo ang magsisilbing boses para sa mga hindi makapagsalita. Tenga para sa mga hindi makarinig at mata para sa mga hindi makakita,” The Banana Split mainstay said.
(I believe free speech is valuable for artists like me – to express our thoughts without fear. And as public figures, we become the voice of the voiceless. We listen for those who cannot hear, and bear witness for those who cannot.)
Robbed of freedoms
Angelica pointed out that shutting ABS-CBN down is detrimental not just to the company’s over 11,000 workers.
“Alam natin na hindi lang kami ang talo sa pagpapasara ng ABS-CBN. Taumbayan ang talo sa laban na ito,” she said.
(We all know that we are not the only ones affected by the ABS-CBN shutdown. It’s the nation that loses.)
“Sa pagapapasara nila sa ating tahanan, hindi na po kayo binigyan ng kalayaan mamili dahil sila na po ang namili na kung ano dapat ninyong panoorin. Hindi po ito tama. Hindi po ito tama sa bansa natin na may demokrasya, sa bansa natin na dapat may kalayaan mamili at kalayaang makapagpahayag.”
(In shutting down our home, they rob people of their freedom to choose because it’s the powers that be that choose what you can watch. This is not right. This cannot happen to a democratic country, to our country that should have freedom of choice and the freedom of expression.)
“Hindi po tayo papayag na iilang tao na lang ang magdidikta sa atin kung ano ang dapat nating panoorin at kung ano ang dapat nating pakinggan. Ipaglalaban natin ngayon ang inyong karapatan at kalayaan na makapagpahayag ng inyong saloobin at sana din po, ganun kayo po sa amin,” she said.
(We cannot allow a select few to dictate what we can watch or what we can listen to. We’re fighting for your right to freedom of expression. I hope you do the same for us.)
She was joined by several stars, including Enchong Dee, Shaina Magdayao, and Angel Aquino, among others. Like the previous “Laban Kapamilya” edition, veteran hosts Boy Abunda and Bianca Gonzales moderated the live discussion.
Angelica has been signed with ABS-CBN for practically all of her showbiz career, which started when she was a child actress.
The actress has always been vocal about her opinions, and recently expressed frustration over the government’s double standards when it comes to following lockdown rules.
When a follower called her out for previously supporting President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 elections, Angelica had this to say: “Yes. Nakakalungkot. Pero oo. Patawarin ‘nyo ko (Yes, it’s sad. But it’s true. Please forgive me).” – Rappler.com