Broadcast network ABS-CBN was given a cease and desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) last May 5. It forced the Kapamilya network to discontinue broadcasting on television.
The first time ABS-CBN was forced off the air was after the declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972.
Many celebrities, politicians, and netizens expressed their disappointment in the untimely shutdown of the biggest network in the country and questioned its timing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On May 13, ABS-CBN was granted a provisional franchise until October 31, 2020, under House Bill 6732. According to ABS-CBN News, “The bill allows the network to air on free TV until October.”
Different voices spoke up on the issue, among them influencers with a strong network.
On May 10, the 21-year-old Youtube vlogger and singer Janina Vela took to social media to share her research and sentiments regarding the ABS-CBN shutdown.
Screenshot from Janina Vela’s Youtube video
In her Youtube video, Janina explains the top allegations against the network: foreign ownership, breach of franchise parameters, legal use of pay-per-view services, and the lack of equity ownership. She spent 30 hours studying the cases and talked to businessmen and lawyers just to support her research.
Screenshot from Janina Vela’s Youtube video
Janina concluded her video by questioning the shutdown of ABS-CBN. After saying that it filed for renewal of franchise 15 times, she asked, “Why couldn’t they renew? Why couldn’t they extend? Why order a cease and desist during a pandemic?”
Photo from Instagram (@reigermar)
Minutes before the ABS-CBN went off the air, the 23-year-old beauty vlogger Rei Germar couldn’t help her feelings as the executives of the network broadcast their final words on television. On Twitter, Rei wrote, “I’m f*****crying”.
Before her tweet, she had retweeted sentiments from other online personalities including Juan Miguel Severo and Ysabel Vitangcol, making fiery statements about the shutdown.
Rei is not only known for the make-up products she uses, but also for bravely airing her side on social issues and helping Filipinos in need.
Photo from Instagram (@angeldei)
Another beauty vlogger Angel Dei was one of the first influencers who tweeted the hashtag #NoTOABSCBNShutdown. Like Rei, she also retweeted others’ opinions regarding the cease and desist order given to the network.
Angel wrote on Twitter, “Imagine mo ‘yun, tuwang-tuwa ka pa na maraming nawalan ng trabaho? Anong klaseng tao ka? Maraming nagugutom tapos dadagdagan niyo pa?” Under the same thread, she also said, “Para sa mga nagsasabing may nilabag na batas, magbasa kayo. Good night.”
Photo from Instagram (@thatsbellayt)
At the age of 18, Youtuber Bella Racellis is not afraid to join the fight against the ABS-CBN shutdown.
She retweeted the actress Kathryn Bernardo’s post of ABS-CBN’s statement on the cease and desist order issued by the NTC.
Bella also tweeted #NoToABSCBShutdown followed by a broken heart emoji.
It can be recalled that Bella started her videos by interviewing Kapamilya celebrities like Vice Ganda, Anne Curtis, and Karylle.
Youtube vlogger Luigi Pacheco, who became famous for his funny conyo accent, also made fearless statements on the day of the shutdown.
Photo from Instagram (@luigipacheco)
After his tweet with #NoTOABS-CBNShutdown, Luigi penned, “Gagamitin lang ‘yung “batas ay batas” card kapag convenient para sa kanila. Y’all are disgusting.”
Following those tweets, Luigi shared tweets from other netizens talking about jobs lost after ABS-CBN went off the air.
Kimpoy Feliciano is one of the pioneers of the culture of Internet celebrities in the country. He started making a name for himself as early as 2013. His fame continues as he posts vlogs on Youtube.
Photo from Instagram (@kimpoyfeliciano)
On the day ABS-CBN was given a cease and desist order, Kimpoy wrote long messages on Twitter to express his sadness. “Other countries are desperately finding ways to help their citizens affected by the pandemic to still have work despite the lockdown. Giving them temporary source of income and help. Pero sa Pilipinas, 11,000 mawawalan ng trabaho tapos parang wala lang. Filipinos deserve better.”
In a separate tweet, Kimpoy added, “Let’s admit it, ABS-CBN has been a big part of our lives. Gigising ako nu’ng bata ako to watch Sineskwela, Hiraya Manawari, Wansapanataym, Mr. Bean, and Doraemon. I grew up watching Pangako Sa’yo, Kokey, ASAP, and PBB! This hurts a lot. I can’t imagine the pain of every Kapamilya.”