‘Kapit, kapamilya’: Netizens rally support as ABS-CBN faces new shutdown threats

‘Kapit, kapamilya’: Netizens rally support as ABS-CBN faces new shutdown threats
In their tweets, Filipino netizens empathized with ABS-CBN employees whose jobs are further threatened by fresh attempts to close their subsidiaries

MANILA, Philippines – “Kapit, kamilya.” (Hang in there, kapamilya)

Addressed to all kapamilya, a term ABS-CBN calls its employees, supporters, and loyal viewers, Filipino netizens shared statements of support for the network’s employees after the National Telecommunications Office (NTC) ordered Sky Cable Corporation to stop its direct broadcast satellite service and ABS-CBN to stop operating digital transmissions in Metro Manila using channel 43.

#ABSCBNFranchise trended on Tuesday after netizens used the hashtag to air their anger about this latest development.

On Tuesday, June 30, the agency released a cease and desist order to Sky Cable and asked them to explain within 10 days why the radio frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled for lack of the necessary congressional franchise.

Sky Cable Corporation is a subsidiary of embattled media giant ABS-CBN. 

In a separate oder, the NTC also ordered ABS-CBN to stop broadcasting in Metro Manila using Channel 43 where the network operates on a block-time basis. 

Online, netizens echoed what Agusan del Norte Representative Lawrence Fortun said during the hearing at the House of Representatives when he pointed out that the move to deny the network a  franchise would only further disenfranchise thousands of employees at a time when the country is struggling with high unemployment rate amid the pandemic. 

“We don’t want, as much as possible, unemployment na unnecessary. Ito kasi mangyayari dito, kapag nagsara itong ABS-CBN, this is unemployment resulting not from the pandemic. This is unemployment resulting from refusal to renew or grant a franchise,” Rep. Fortun said. 

ABS-CBN has at least 11,000 employees, including regular and contractual workers. (READ: Without a franchise, ABS-CBN may start laying off workers by August

Some employees of the company also took to Twitter to remind their colleagues to stay strong and positive.

Nararamdaman ko yung lungkot at panghihina ng karamihan sa mga katrabaho ko. Kahit ako naaapektuhan. Pero wag tayo papatalo sa mga Dinosars nato. KAPIT KAPAMILYA. This too shall pass,” DJ Chacha said in a tweet. 

(I can feel the sadness and loss of hope of most of my coworkers. I too am affected. But we should not let ourselves lose to these ‘Dinosars’. Hold on, Kapamilya. This, too, shall pass.) 

ABS-CBN news reporter Jeff Canoy also expressed his frustrations with the recent order of the NTC through a tweet:

“Dapang-dapa na pero gusto pa nila duraan. Kapit mga kapamilya.” (We’re already down on our faces, yet they want to spit on us. Hold on, Kapamilya.)

Below are some tweets made by netizens to support ABS-CBN employees during this difficult time: 

Netizens also expressed their anger over this recent move made by the NTC. According to them, the move looked like an attempt to push the giant network further against the wall. 

ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5 after the Congress did not renew its franchise on time. 

Some are even questioning the priorities of the officials tasked to resolve the franchise issue, like Twitter user @jeansebastina who tweeted: “The hearing on ABS-CBN’s case, which is becoming more of a circus, is a clear manifestation of how the government can waste public money just to intimidate and silence any news outfit or individual that is deemed critical of the government.”

Below are some tweets by Filipinos online, reacting to the NTC order and the House of Reprsentative hearing: 

The CDO issued by the NTC has unclear provisions regarding Sky’s broadband internet services. – Rappler.com

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