On National Heroes’ Day, August 31, ABS-CBN employees and supporters gathered in front of Sgt. Esguerra Gate as this is also the last day for many workers who were advised to have been axed after Lower Congress rejected in its level the network’s franchise bid on July 10.
The network was forced off the air since May 5, after its franchise expired on May 4 and the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease-and-desist order to the network despite promising earlier that the network would be given a provisional authority to operate until such time Congress is able to tackle the franchise legislation.
The ABS-CBN management earlier announced that it will start its mass lay-off schemes starting August 31 after it shuts down its free TV and radio broadcast including their digital TV box operations.
After several hearings post-expiration of the franchise, 70 congressmen voted for the denial of the network’s franchise bid, citing violations in its committee report, despite several government regulatory agencies testifying to have found no violations in tax, registration, labor and Filipino ownership among others.
Prior this, the first and only time the network was forced off the air was during the Marcos regime.
“Unlike the heroes of this country who will always be remembered and honored, these politicians who robbed the livelihoods of the thousands of ABS-CBN workers and their families as well as the Filipino people’s rights to information and press freedom will be added to the long list of infamous Filipino traitors in our history,” Defend Job Philippines said.
ABS-CBN, known to be the media network have the widest reach in the country, employs the most number of employees across various platforms, reported to have 11,071 employees, but needed to let go most of them after four months of being off the air and still no free tv and radio franchise in sight.
All of its regional networks were shutdown and aired their last on August 28, while some of its big name anchors have transferred to different networks including Ted Failon and Anthony Taberna, among others.