(SPOT.ph) It actually happened: ABS-CBN is going off air. After a months-long battle to have their 25-year franchise renewed in Congress—which was ultimately denied on July 10—the major Filipino network announced on July 15 that they will be laying off and retrenching their workers. Around 11,000 employees now have their livelihood at stake.
"The loss of their jobs comes at a time when the uncertain and perilous impact of the COVID 19 pandemic further makes our decision truly difficult, but inevitable," said the statement. Noise barrages and candle-lit vigils have been happening at the ABS-CBN headquarters in Quezon City since the congressional hearings began, but were at an all-time high in the past few days. A lot of people were affected not just by the technical loss of a network, but the devastating blow to a media company that has played a huge part in their lives—whether audience or employee.
Several reporters have spoken up after the franchise renewal was rejected. Vetera journalist Ces Drilon took to Twitter to announce that she is one of the employees that were let go—and was responsible for telling her co-workers of their similar fate as well. She posted a picture of uniformed men standing guard outside of the network's gates as the announcement for retrenchment was ongoing.
Fellow journalist Karen Davila Tweeted a show of support for Drilon, saying " I am preparing my heart as well for the worst."
Kim Atienza, better known as Kuya Kim, posted a short clip of a vigil at the ABS-CBN main office on his Instagram on July 15. "Retrenchment has begun," he stated. A few days before, he posted pictures from their taping of TV Patrol, saying "Buhay pa po kami."
Several more reporters took to social media amid the closure announcements to say goodbye. From Jeff Canoy to Bernadette Sembrano and many others, take a look at their heartfelt statements.
Rival network GMA-7 also gave a subtle tribute to ABS-CBN on Saksi on July 11.
Instead of the usual "Sama-sama tayong naging saksi," line from news anchor Raffy Tima, he stated "Para sa malayang Pilipino, kaisa kami ng lahat sa pagiging Saksi." The powerful statement was followed by the ABS-CBN cable tower being flashed on the screen behind him and co-anchor Pia Arcangel, and a darkened logo coming soon after.
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