‘Taxpayer’ Angel Locsin questions gov’t priorities after ban on SkyCable Direct, TVPlus

July 2, 2020 - 6:25 PM
Angel Locsin and staff
Photo from Angel Locsin's Facebook (Angel Locsin/Facebook)

Angel Locsin on Wednesday penned an open letter to the government wherein she criticized the supposed misplaced priorities of the officials behind the closure of ABS-CBN’s digital and satellite television services.

Last Tuesday, the National Telecommunications Commission issued another cease-and-desist order against Sky Cable Corporation’s direct-to-home satellite transmission and ABS-CBN’s digital television or TV Plus set-up boxes via Channel 43.

READ: New ban on ABS-CBN’s digital TV, satellite services fuels press freedom worries

NTC cited the expiration of its own franchise provided by Republic Act 7969 as the basis for the order to Sky Cable, an ABS-CBN subsidiary and the largest cable company in the country.

Meanwhile, the state regulators said that the TV Plus channels, which include Teleradyo, Jeepney TV, Yey!, Asianovela Channel, CineMo and KBO, were supposed to be among the services that should’ve stopped operating last May 5.

This order came a month after ABS-CBN’s radio and television operations were also shut down. That move was seen historical as it closed for the first time since 1972.

The NTC then said it served the cease-and-desist order because its 25-year franchise had already lapsed.

In an open letter shared via Instagram Stories, Locsin highlighted the consequences of the closure of the two big media entities to its workers especially during a pandemic.

Screenshot by Interaksyon from Angel Locsin’s Instagram

She also questioned the government’s priorities.

“Make sure you have plans for the many workers and business owners who lost their income,” Locsin said.

“Ang daming time pag-initian ang ABS, i-prioritize pa ang re-naming ng airport, anti-terrorist bill, pero ang kailangang marinig ay ang plano tungkol sa COVID-19 and frontliners, plano sa edukasyon para sa mahihirap na walang access sa internet o magtuturo sa bahay, balik probinsya, OFW’s na stranded sa ibang bansa, kabuhayan ng nawalan ng trabaho, “ she added.

Locsin also cited the current woes of drivers of traditional jeepneys, senior citizens and the livelihood of Filipinos post-pandemic.

“Pano na ang tradisyunal na jeepney drivers? Paano ang mga senior citizens? At sa kung anong kakaharapin ng masang Pilipino pagkatapos ng pandemya?” she said.

Locsin referred to herself as a “taxpayer” at the end of the letter.

The former “Darna” actress had always been vocal about her political views on social media, including her dissent against the shutdown of the country’s largest broadcaster last month.

Clapback to a critic

When Locsin’s letter circulated on social media, Twitter user Tio Moreno with username @Ciama28 criticized the actress and claimed that a proposed stimulus package supposed to help the economy recover from the pandemic should have been tackled instead of the ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

Moreno also shared a screenshot of Locsin’s letter and tweeted a a question addressing Locsin.

“Have you heard about the House Bill (HB) No. 6815 or the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines (ARISE Philippines)? This is supposed to be passed now if not because of ABS-CBN franchise hearing,” Moreno said.

He called himself “informed folk” when he signed his Twitter letter.

Th House Bill 6815 or the P1.3-trillion Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy (ARISE) bill have been approved on the third and final reading at the Lower House last month.

However, the proposed measure got stuck in Congress because the executive and legislative branches have yet to agree on the package’s costs.

Meanwhile, Locsin responded to Moreno’s thread and pointed out the irony that lawmakers did not prioritize this “important” proposed measure.

“Instead of focusing on shutting down abs & cutting the life support of the people relying on it, giving support to the economic needs of the people should be prioritized. Ironic, isn’t it?” the actress said.

“Fyi, informed folk, ARISE bill was approved last June on it’s 3rd reading, so the problem is not our call for ABS-CBN franchise. Maybe you’re not so informed after all?” she added and tagged the Twitter user’s account.

Bills to extend or renew ABS-CBN’s franchise for another 25 years have also been filed to Congress since 2016 and has been pending since.

The broadcast giant had also since defended itself against allegations of tax evasion and foreign ownership.