Radio Veritas, Catholic schools stand with ABS-CBN

Radio Veritas, Catholic schools stand with ABS-CBN

The St La Salle Building of the De La Salle University is lit up in red, green, and blue on Tuesday night “in solidarity” with ABS-CBN. COURTESY OF BR. EDGAR ESPARAGOZA, FSC

By CBCP News

May 6, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic-run radio station, which played a pivotal role during the Martial Law, stood with the country’s largest broadcasting network after it was forced to shutdown due to an expired franchise.

Radio Veritas president Fr. Anton Pascual said they continue to stand for press freedom as a “a crucial safeguard” of truth against lies “as we have historically protected the freedom of the press since the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution”.

“We pray that our lawmakers would expeditiously resolve the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN,” Pascual said.

He said the issue must be resolved immediately as the country wrestles with the coronavirus that entails “solidarity” and not a divided nation posed “by this unnecessary situation”.

The media giant was ordered closed by the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) after its 25-year congressional franchise ended on May 4.

The order is contrary to the recommendation of Congress to issue a temporary permit for the network while lawmakers assess a franchise renewal.

The closure of ABS-CBN has also sparked uproar among the country’s top Catholic schools.

The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) said the network’s forced shutdown shows “shades of martial law” under late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, “when the airwaves went silent as the dictatorship sought to quell the free exchange of news, information and commentary.”

“ABS-CBN’s closure extinguishes the brightest light in our information firmament and leaves the smaller ones in darkness and peril,” said Jesuit Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, ADMU President.

“We urge our lawmakers to act post-haste to approve the ABS-CBN franchise and restore its broadcast,” he said.

The University of Santo Tomas also stood with the network, saying that its shutdown “is clear disservice” to Filipinos in this time of Covid-19 pandemic “when information, delivered fast and wide is key to saving lives”.

“We pray that ABS will be able to resume its broadcast operations very soon to continue its invaluable service to the Filipino people and the nation,” the UST said.

As a show of support, De La Salle University on Tuesday also lit up the facade of its iconic St. La Salle hall in red, green and blue, which are the signature colors of ABS-CBN.

In a statement, the university expressed solidarity with the network’s more than 11,000 employees and appealed to the NTC to grant provisional authority for the continued operations of the station.