Stars and supporters protest ABS-CBN shutdown

Enraged supporters and employees of shuttered media network ABS-CBN – including its biggest stars – took to the streets on Saturday, July 18, just over a week after the House of Representatives rejected its franchise renewal application, and days after the company announced a major retrenchment affecting more than 11,000 workers.

They held a noise barrage and a motorcade that passed through several cities before ending up at the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City.

Actress and activist Angel Locsin was among the protesters. She was joined by her fiance, Neil Arce.

An enraged Angel called out her fellow artists who have yet to speak out on the ABS-CBN shutdown.

"Ano tatahimik na lang kayo? Wala na, wala na kayong network! Kahit magpa-cute kayo diyan sa Instagram (Are you just going to stay silent? You have no network, even if you keep posting on Instagram)," she said.

Actress Alex Gonzaga also spoke at the protest.

Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, two of the network's biggest stars, held up signs that said: "Walang iwanan (No one will be left behind)," and "Hanggang sa buwan #kapitkapamilya (To the moon)". The hashtag roughly translates to "Hang on, family."

Other stars who joined the rally were veteran actors Jaime Fabregas and Joel Torre, host Bianca Gonzalez, actor Jake Cuenca, beauty queen Kylie Versoza, and young actors Edward Barber and Maymay Entrata.

ABS-CBN franchise renewal protest

Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Not a few had a feeling of déjà vu. In 1972, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos ordered the closure of ABS-CBN and other media outlets after declaring martial law.

ABS-CBN franchise renewal protest

Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

ABS-CBN franchise renewal protest

Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

ABS-CBN franchise renewal protest

Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

ABS-CBN franchise renewal protest

Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

ABS-CBN was forced off the air on May 5, when the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the network to shut down their free television and radio operations after their franchise expired on May 4.

The House committee on legislative franchises denied the network's application for franchise renewal on July 10. With the network operating on limited capacity, they were forced to implement a retrenchment program, which they announced on July 15.

The retrenchment takes effect on August 31, leaving many of the network's long-time employees and workers jobless. Among them are ABS-CBN's most high-profile names such as veteran journalists Ces Drilon and Korina Sanchez.

Entire departments were also cut – including the network's sports arm and its film restoration project. – Rappler.com