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ABS-CBN shutdown to worsen joblessness, says labor coalition

Thousands of employees of ABS-CBN network are in peril of losing jobs after the House of Representatives denied its application for franchise renewal on Friday, a grim scenario that could worsen the unemployment problem triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a labor coalition said.

In a statement, Nagkaisa Labor Coalition said killing the network's franchise also brought the demise of the livelihood of some 11,000 employees, their families and dependents.

"In killing the franchise bill of ABS-CBN, the House of Representatives killed with it the livelihoods of 11,000 workers and the only means of survival of their families and dependents in this time of pandemic," it said.

The group slammed the House for its "double attack" against freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

"The House of Representatives is growing into infamy day by day. Only a month after adopting the Anti-Terror Bill, here they go again, denying the ABS-CBN a franchise to continue operating," Nagkaisa said.

The bill was signed into law by the President last week.

According to Nagkaisa, Congress "killed off" ABS-CBN for its reporting.

"[B]y doing so, exercising censorship, which is not in its mandate. ABS-CBN may not be everyone's model corporation, but none of its perceived sins justify its killing," Nagkaisa said.

It also said that Congress acted on "a presidential order" that was "motivated by vengeance." 

"In doing so, it has yet again blurred the lines between co-equal branches of government," it said. —Joahna Lei Casilao/LDF, GMA