#IbalikAngABSCBN: Calls to renew network franchise resurface on local Twitter amid SONA 2021

July 26, 2021 - 5:36 PM
Protesters at Sergeant Esguerra Ave. mark on July 10, 2021 the first anniversary of a House panel’s rejection of ABS-CBN’s franchise application.(Philstar.com/Xave Gregorio)

The hashtag #IbalikAngAbsCBN dominated conversations on Twitter Philippines on Monday amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s delivery of his final State of the Nation Address.

This hashtag was also used last May as ABS-CBN reporters commemorated the first year since the shutdown and the loss of thousands of jobs amid the prevailing health and economic crisis.

READ: ‘It’s been a year’: ABS-CBN reporters mark 1st anniversary since signing off the air

As of writing, it garnered more than 46,600 tweets.

Some Filipinos online reminded one another of the closure of the country’s largest broadcasting network, which President Rodrigo Duterte had vocally threatened to shut down in the past.

The National Telecommunications Communications issued a cease-and-desist order on all radio and broadcast channels of ABS-CBN on May 5, 2020, after its franchise expired.

They also sought for the return of ABS-CBN, particularly its provincial stations, to return on air.

ABS-CBN reporters Anjo Bagaoisan and Tarra Quismundo also aired the same sentiments anew on the same day of Duterte’s last SONA.

Bagaoisan also shared a raised-fist avatar with an ABS-CBN microphone. This was in reference to the popular online movement that Filipino artist Kevin Eric Raymundo started last week to encourage Filipinos to voice out their dissent.

RELATED: Artist Tarantadong Kalbo thanks fellow Filipinos who joined ‘Tumindig’ online movement that expresses dissent

“A face of #SONA2021: Fewer sources of reliable information for millions, thousands of families’ dreams jeopardized by media closures & the law wielded to cripple the press. Today, we say #Tumindig & still cry #DefendPressFreedom #IbalikAngABSCBN,” he wrote.

Quismundo, meanwhile, attached an infographic of the 70 lawmakers who rejected ABS-CBN’s franchise bid on July 10, 2020.

“As President Duterte delivers his final SONA before Congress, may we never forget those who dealt death to the ABS-CBN franchise bid… #IbalikAngABSCBN,” she said.

Only 11 lawmakers voted against the resolution to deny the broadcast giant its license to operate.

These are:

  1. Sol Aragones
  2. Toff De Venecia
  3. Caloi Zarate
  4. Gab Bordado
  5. Vilma Santos
  6. Lianda Bolilia
  7. Ping Tejada
  8. Beny Abante
  9. Stella Quimbo
  10. Mujiv Hataman
  11. Edward Maceda

READ: Who’s who: A rundown of votes during ABS-CBN franchise renewal final hearing

Most of the users using the hashtag were fan accounts of ABS-CBN’s popular talents, musicians and love teams.

“ABS-CBN knows who supported them during the dark times. And we are happy to see them doing more projects sa Kapamilya Network. DonBelle, KoDrea, ACEs, BINI, Ella C., KyCine and many more,” one Twitter user said.

“ABS-CBN is not just a network, it is our home. #IbalikAngABSCBN,” another Twitter user wrote.

One fan account of the pairing of Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano also shared a group photo with the network executives Carlo Katigbak, Cory Vidanes and Laurenti Dyogi.

The account then hoped for both celebrities to be able to return on-screen in the future.

“They give the light to everyone. And they’re willing to serve,” the user said.

Duterte is still delivering his national address as of writing.