Celebrity couple and love team Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, who are normally silent on national affairs, expressed their opposition against the ABS-CBN shutdown to their huge and relatively young fanbase.
Their home network signed off the air in the evening of May 5 in compliance with the state regulators’ cease-and-desist order because their franchise lapsed.
ABS-CBN’s artists later launched an online gathering through Facebook Live called “Laban Kapamilya” to air their sentiments and concerns regarding the network closure.
Instead of joining the live-streamed event, Bernardo and Padilla took to Instagram to express their take on the issue on May 13, after a week of perceived silence on the matter. They still used the banner and hashtag #LabanKapamilya in their posts.
Both celebrities managed to address their fans and critics on several issues such as the economic impact of ABS-CBN’s closure, the role of the Filipino youth, and inequality in the Philippine society in short video clips posted on their Instagram accounts.
Bernardo to the youth
Bernardo encouraged her young fans to speak up their views on important topics. She admitted she was also afraid of harsh criticisms before.
“Sa mga kabataan, sana huwag kayong matakot. Kasi kagaya niyo rin ako, natakot ako. Pero kung hindi kasi tayo magsasalita ngayon, sino? Tayo ‘yung magmamana ng Pilipinas, kaya may karapatan tayo,” she said.
The last time both Bernardo got involved in politics was when she and Padilla endorsed former presidential candidate Mar Roxas against now-President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 national elections.
In her statement, Bernardo recalled how she was traumatized by the backlash she and her family received from the political endorsement.
“Kasi noong huling beses na ginamit ko ang platform ko sa usaping politika, hindi naging maganda ‘yung nangari. Naging traumatic ‘yung experience ko noon. Kagaya po ng nararanasan ng ibang mga artista na nagsalita, ang daming pag-atake. Ang daming sinabi hindi lang sa akin, pati sa pamilya ko,” she said.
Bernardo also recalled her experience from the record-breaking movie “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” where she played the main character of an overseas Filipino worker in Hong Kong.
She specifically mentioned one her memorable lines in the movie: “Ang choice para lang sa may pera.”
She changed it as a dissent against the glaring inequality in the country.
“Huwag na po natin palalain ang inequality. Ang choice, hindi lang ‘yan dapat sa may pera. Magtulungan tayo,” she said.
Padilla to critics and the government
Padilla, meanwhile, addressed the critics of his colleagues and said that they have the right to express their support to their embattled media giant as employees, along with some 11,000 employees.
“Sa lahat ng mga pumupuna, nagsasalita, alam ko ho magkakaiba tayo ng opinyon. Alam ko na kung anuman ang halaga sa amin ng ABS-CBN ay maaaring hindi iyon ang halaga nito sa inyo. Pero sana ho huwag tayong makalimot na rumespeto sa pinagdadaanan ng iba,” Padilla said.
He expressed hope that Filipinos may open their hearts to the struggles of those who lost their jobs due to the shutdown during this pandemic.
“Buksan ho natin ang mga puso natin para sa pinagdadaanan ng iba. At buksan natin ang mga mata natin para sa katotohanan. Mas mainam pa ang maging bulag kaysa sa nagbubulag-bulagan,” Padilla said.
The actor also addressed a message to the National Telecommunications Commission, the body that issued the order to cease ABS-CBN’s radio and television operations.
“Sa NTC, mga kapatid, sana ho ‘yung mga ginagawa niyong desisyon ay hindi lang para sa interes ng ilan. Sana ho ang desisyon na ginagawa ninyo ay para sa mas ikabubuti ng mas marami,” he said.
Cheers from the public
The names of Padilla and Bernardo, and their love team name “KathNiel” made it to the Philippines Trends list on Twitter after they shared their videos on Instagram.
Jerry Gracio, a renowned poet and scriptwriter, shared a few quotes from both artists on his Twitter account.
DANIEL PADILLA on the right to free speech: “Bago ho ako maging artista, tao at Filipino ho muna ako. Kaya sana huwag ninyong ipagkait sa amin ang karapatan namin na magpahayag ng saloobin.” #LabanKapamilya
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) May 13, 2020
KATHRYN BERNARDO addressing the Filipino youth: “Sana, huwag kayong matakot. Kasi kagaya n’yo rin ako. Natakot ako. Pero kung hindi kasi tayo magsasalita ngayon, sino? Tayo ang mga mamamayan ng Pilipinas kaya mas may karapatan tayo.”
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) May 13, 2020
Aika Robredo, daughter of Vice President Leni Robredo, also shared how proud she is as Bernardo’s fan.
“Forever a proud Kathryn fan,” she said.
Another online user shared an edited clip juxtaposing Bernardo’s line as Joy in “Hello, Love, Goodbye” and her remark on inequality in her statement.
"ang choice para lang sa may pera." – joy
"ang choice hindi lang yan dapat sa may pera." – kathryn bernardo pic.twitter.com/jKOr4rZ1kJ
— ًgodryn (@supreimokb) May 13, 2020