Lea Salonga, other talents back 1-million signature campaign for ABS-CBN

January 22, 2020 - 11:12 AM
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Lea Salonga in a gallery
Singer and Broadway star Lea Salonga. (Lea Salonga via Facebook)

Kapamilya talents showed their support for a signature campaign backing ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal launched by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Lea Salonga, Ogie Alcasid and Agot Isidro are among the talents who shared the petition’s link in their social media accounts and urged their followers to digitally sign the campaign, which aims to get one million signatures, as the expiration of the network’s current franchise looms.

Alcasid and Isidro shared the campaign on Twitter while Salonga said she supports the calls to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise for “personal and professional reasons.”

“Yes, I have personal and professional reasons for this one. Not gonna lie,” the Broadway star wrote as she shared the online petition.

Last week, the NUJP released a petition on Charge.org that sought one million signatures to back the call for Congress to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise as it expires in March 2020.

“We call on Congress to do what is right and immediately pass the bill to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise,” the organization said.

“At the very least, if the president is really hell-bent on shutting down ABS-CBN, let him bear full responsibility by passing the bill renewing the network’s franchise and let him veto it if he dares to. Do not be accomplices in the rape of democracy,” it continued.

The NUJP also released an on-ground version of the campaign during the protest held at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City on January 17, Friday.

Once the one-millionth mark is reached, the organization will submit it to the House of Representatives for review.

Last December, some ABS-CBN workers also expressed their support on the renewal by tweeting the hashtag “#ABSCBNIsNotForSale” following President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks that the Lopezes should just sell the network.

ABS-CBN AdProm manager Eric John Salut, TV and film director Theodore Boborol, DJ Chacha of ABS-CBN’s MOR 101.9 and Agot Isidro were seen tweeting the hashtag on their Twitter accounts.

Months earlier, labor group Defend Job Philippines also shared photos of Kapamilya talents who support the franchise’s renewal by holding a paper with the following message:

“LEGISLATIVE FRANCHISE FOR ABS-CBN NOW! #SaveABSCBNWorkers”

These include comedian Walter Mark “Nonong” Ballinan and actors Jerico “Nico” Antonio, Baron Geisler and Lorna Tolentino.

License to operate

Duterte has been targeting ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal since 2017, accusing it of allegedly failing to air his political advertisements on the 2016 presidential elections and supposed biased reporting.

His online supporters also claim that the network has supposed unpaid taxes to the government, although the Lopezes already denied the allegations in 2017.

ALSO READ: Does ABS-CBN have tax deficiencies, unpaid debt?

Since then, the broadcast giant has suffered from constant threats from the chief executive who even suggested that its owners should just sell it.

The Philippine law requires all broadcast companies, including radio and television networks, to seek a franchise from Congress before it begins to operate.

ABS-CBN’s current franchise was granted on March 30, 1995, under Republic Act 7966. It will expire 25 years after the law’s effectivity, to which the network may no longer operate television and radio stations.