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Taking a stand

I have been following the shout-outs of my colleagues in ABS CBN. Many of them are naturally angry as they were made pawns that were simply discarded by 70 clowns who opted to cower in fear or yes, favor, from a vengeful monstrosity.

“Legistraitors” is how labor leader, Wennie Sancho likes to call them. I have worse words for them but I agree with Wennie – that is what we should call them for betraying the trust of the people. They are despicable scums who never thought about the plight of over 11,000 network employees who got notice of retrenchment by the end of next month.

One legistraitor even had the gall to say ABS CBN ought to sell its assets so they can continue providing employment for those who will be axed, right after announcing that with the airwaves free, they can utilize it for other purposes. Pweh!

I am angry, had been angry from the time this farce called the clowngressional hearing started until they openly spit on the people when they decided it was better to give in to a deranged, vicious man than save the lives of 11,000 people.

Yesterday, I shed tears reading the write up of Bacoleño Nick Villavecer, a segment producer of the network who shared his thoughts about the retrenchment that was published in Rappler.

“If this were a television segment, this is the part of the story where a dramatic score would play in the background, with close-ups on our faces to emphasize the tears falling. But there was none of that. Most of us sat anxiously inside our homes as we mentally and emotionally processed the fact that we were about to lose our jobs in the middle of a health crisis,” Nick wrote.

“Pain was seeing my boss in tears amid a crowd of protesting employees. Pain was seeing another officemate, who just lost a brother recently, now having to deal with another loss. Pain was listening to the words of another employee, whose mother was just hospitalized, and who now faces unemployment after more than 20 years with the network,” he added.

Most of the seasoned reporters of ABS CBN here were my colleagues back when I was doing field reporting. I remember how Barbara Mijares first came in at the Provincial Capitol, during the time of Gov. Lito Coscolluela.

Barbara was then with a cable TV company and she looked so naïve as she groped around to fight her way in among the ‘Capitol Brats.’ We were branded brats then because we were exactly that, prompting Barbara to seek advice from fellow reporters.

I remembered Toks Lopez who was formerly with this paper, calling me up and telling me that Barbara seems to fear me. I laughed and thought I will play a prank on this innocent girl and the morning after, I put on my haughtiest look and confronted Barbara for telling on me. The poor girl was almost in tears which made me reveal that it was but a prank and my bark is worse than my bite.

Since then, Barbara, along with the other reporters of ABS have become my good friends. We often give advice to each other on what to wear, which make-up shows her best features on air, and even on love problems. Many of the younger ones would often call to seek advice on how best to report on specialized topics like sugar, as their way to learn more. One of them even became my godson.

In short, they have become family and are truly my ‘Kapamilya.’ Thus, to be sad and livid against this government is an understatement, more so against the 70 legistraitors.

Perhaps one legistraitor must be reminded that years ago, when he was with the rebel movement, the network risked their reporters’ lives to give him coverage up in the mountains. One reporter died in an accident, several of them, including Carla Gomez, ended up hospitalized. Ah, but fear and favor must have been a huge factor for deciding against 11,000 lives.

This issue has divided the nation. It is easy to glean who are fanatical about the man in the palace. They either have blinders or are paid to do so. But that’s okay. If they find joy in the loss of jobs for 11,000 employees so be it. Let their family and children be the judge of them for gloating over other people’s misery. At least, they are taking a stand, be it curved or bent the way their Duque thinks.

What I would like to know is how the rest will take a stand on this matter. There are many, even among our officials, who said they think shutting down the network should not have happened. Many of us share our thoughts via social media, but when push comes to shove, will we bravely face the tune?

Today, there will be a nationwide solidarity rally and noise barrage for ABS CBN including here in Bacolod at 6 p.m. at the Capitol Lagoon. If we really believe injustice has been committed and it’s time to remind those in power that the real power lies in the people, then let’s take a stand and be counted. Not just for ABS CBN, but for the sake of all our lives, for love of our country.

Take a stand. Be counted.

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November 2022

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