Uphold Press Freedom

Uphold Press Freedom

The Peace of our Lord be to all!

The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communications is aware of the sentiments of our people regarding the lapse of the franchise of ABS-CBN and the cease and desist order imposed upon them by the NTC. We recognize the importance of the role of the same corporation in the Philippine democratic landscape, as they, together with all other Philippine media entities represent the voice of the freedom of the press. They are part of the many media channels that contribute to the timely, objective and truthful dissemination of news and information bringing guidance and support to our people especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. We are aware of the fact that their closure also jeopardizes the livelihood of more than 11,000 employees, their families, and those whose businesses are directly or indirectly connected and are dependent on the continuous operation of the same media network.

We humbly implore and call upon the lawmakers in congress to act expeditiously and judiciously on their application, pending since 2016, in accordance to the merits and demerits of the same. We entreat them to consider the immediate resolution of the application of ABS-CBN for the possibility of their going back on-air and back to operation at the soonest possible time as we need all support that we can get from all sectors of society during this time of crisis. And we hope that the lawmakers do the same on all the other franchise applications of other media networks already on their desk for passing and renewal. We value and uphold press freedom, and thus believe that the delay of renewal and the closure of any recognized media channel jeopardize this same freedom and deprive our people of their right to access news and information. It is also our hope that they do not forget that this is not only about a corporate giant’s renewal application, but that it is too about the livelihood and sustenance of the thousands of people and their loved ones who depend on it. It is also about the many Filipinos who also consider ABS-CBN a vital source of information and their temporary escape from the daily grind of their ordinary lives. And it is foremost about being united as a nation overcoming our differences for the common good, as we confront a common adversary, which is the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We trust in the good judgment of those who are entrusted to serve the good of our people. And we hope for the expeditious solution to this situation that affects many Filipinos if not all.

We pray for the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, to guard all our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! (Phil 4:7)

+Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit, Jr., D.D.
Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communications