NEW YORK — For these Filipino-American community leaders — the black screen is a sign of the dark days to come in Philippine democracy.
“The ABS-CBN shutdown by the NTC under President Duterte is the start of the death of Democracy because Press Freedom is the essence Sine qua non of a free government of a free society,” said Lorida Nicolas Lewis, National Chair of U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance.
“Freedom of the press is stipulated in Article III, section IV of the Phillippines 1987 constitution, the closure of a major media outlet an affront to both Press freedom and democracy,” said Brendan Flores. “We hope that the government of the Philippines will come to the right decision, they should decide the fate of ABS-CBN in a very transparent process that reflects the will of the people.”
“Shutting down the network does not inspire confidence that the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression and of the press will be respected and observed,” said Lara Gregory.
The Duterte administration ordered the country’s biggest television network to stop broadcasting immediately — after its license expired.
Nicolas-Lewis said the silencing of even just one voice in a democracy should be enough to send shivers down the spine of every freedom-loving Filipino.
And she had some choice words for President Rodrigo Duterte.
“He is not only killing poor people because of the Drug War, but he is also a killer of democracy,” said Lewis. “President Duterte is only concerned about his power — I think President Duterte has lost all sense of humanity, may God have mercy on his soul.”
For overseas Filipinos, ABS-CBN — through The Filipino Channel — has helped them stay connected to their homeland.
“My family and I were probably one of the very first subscribers to the Filipino Channel back when it first aired here in SFO, siguro kung wala ang ABS-CBN as a part of my life, matagal ko nang nakalimutan managalog. If ABS-CBN was not part of my life, I would have forgotten how to speak Tagalog a long time ago.”
“Having ABS-CBN and the Filipino Channel in our household has given my family and I the sense of being at home away from home and we’re thankful for having ABS-CBN as part of our life. We were able to learn about our culture and heritage.”
“Nakakalungkot at nakaka-infuriate itong pagpapasara sa ABS-CBN noh, kasi ang ABS-CBN ang isa sa mga main na daluyan ng pagkuha ng balita ng mga OFWs galling sa Pilipinas at the same time, ang ABS-CBN din ang daluyan naman ng balita ng mga nangyayari sa mag OFWs (para malaman ng mga kababayan natin.”
“I am saddened and upset of ABS-CBN being shut down. ABS-CBN is one of the main sources of news for OFWs from the Philippines, at the same time, ABS-CBN is also a way for our fellow Filipinos back in the Philippines to know about issues affecting OFWs.”
“Defend press freedom, No to the ABS-CBN Shutdown, Oust Duterte now.”