Martial law survivors say ABS-CBN shutdown is “history repeating itself”

“Ito ay maliwanag na pag-ulit nung nangyari nung 1972, 48 taon na ang nakaraan, ang kaibahan nuon, gumamit sila ng military para ipasara ang ABS-CBN.”

“This is a clear repeat of what happened in 1972, 48 years ago. The difference before is, they used the military to shut down ABS-CBN.”

For those who lived through martial law in the Philippines in the 1970’s, the Duterte administration’s shutdown of the Philippines’ biggest media network ABS-CBN is history repeating itself.

“Maliwanag na ang may kasalanan ng pagsasara ng ABS-CBN ay si Duterte, hindi ang sino pa man, sapagkat paulit-ulit na sinasabi niya an ipapasara ang ABS-CBN at isa sa kanyang mga alipores ang tagapsalita si Calida ang nagpasara sa ABS-CBN,” said survivor Art Garcia.

“It’s clear that the one to be blamed for ABS-CBN’s shutdown is Duterte. No one else. He has repeatedly said that he would shut down ABS-CBN and one of his minions, Calida, was the one that verbalized the closure.”

“If you are expecting na ma-renew yan, I’m sorry, you’re out! I will see to it that you’re out.”

“Nung mai-deklara ang martial, nawalan tayo ng press freedom, nagkaroon ng censorship… lahat ng balita ay papuri kay Marcos, ito rin ang ginagawa ni Duterte ang lahat ay gusto niya purihin siya… sapagkat siya ay kulang sa pansin,” said Garcia.

“When martial law was declared, we lost our press freedom. There was censorship. All the news were praises for Marcos. This is what Duterte is also doing. He wants all praises too, because he lacks attention.”

“Ang malayang pamamahayag ay kakabit sa katotohanan, so ang pinaglalaban natin dito ay ang malayang pamamahayag sa panahon ng COVID,” said Jerry Clarito.

“With free press comes the search for truth. We are fighting for free press, especially in this time of COVD-19.”

Clarito said that vital public health information is also a concern, without ABS-CBN News and public service announcements aired in far-flung areas in the Philippines.

“Kung manggagaling lang ang impormasyon sa gobyerno lang, ay nakakatakot.”

“If the only information comes from the government, that’s scary.”

For these online protesters, the timing of ABS-CBN shutdown is enough to sound the alarm – and that an attack even on just one media organization is an attack on press freedom itself.

“Dapat kabahan na tayong lahat mawawala ang pag-disseminate ng information, mas madaling itago ang pag takeover ng isang bansang tulad ng China, ang pagkawala ng mga bilyong-bilyong funds. This is more than just a cry for press freedom,” said Nina Cabardo.

“We should be alarmed that the dissemination of information has been taken away. That makes it easier to hide the takeover of a country like China, and also the disappearance of billions of funds.”

These protesters doubt Malacanang’s claim that President Rodrigo Duterte had nothing to do with solicitor General Jose Calida’s letter pushing for the National Telecommunications Commission to issue a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN.

“It’s impossible for a president not to know what his top executives are doing… and it’s impossible for a president to claim he doesn’t know it, with all of his pronunciations in the past,” said Jun Del Rosario, Managing Director of ABS-CBN Global.

On Friday, the Philippine Supreme Court did not act on ABS-CBN’s plea for a temporary restraining order against the NTC’s cease and desist order that pulled the plug on its broadcast operations on Tuesday.

The high court said the case will be raffled Monday to a magistrate who will handle the case.

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