Philippines: Public campaign to put ABS-CBN back on air

The campaign to bring back ABS-CBN, the largest broadcasting station in the country, continues to gather momentum. PIRMA Kapamilya, a public campaign, has been launched to lobby for the network to regain its franchise. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) to support the campaign and calls Filipinos to sign up to the initiative.

ABS-CBN supporters protest in front of the House of Representatives in Manila on July 10, 2020. Credit: Miggy Hilario/AFP

NUJP  hosted a webinar on August 10 to discuss PIRMA Kapamilya, the People’s Initiative to campaign to bring ABS-CBN back on air by granting it a new franchise. On the webinar, PIRMA Kapamilya convenors, Attys. Third Bagro, Eirene Aguilla, and Mike Tiu and Leon Flores III, discussed the initiative which was launched following the decision of the House of Representatives panel to deny the application of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

Pirma means to sign and Kapamilya means family member which is also a brand name of ABS-CBN.

Based on the Veritas Survey, 68 per cent of Filipinos support the initiative. Such community action is allowed under Article VI Section 32 of the 1987 Constitution that states: “the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act of law or part thereof passed by Congress or local legislative body…”

PIRMA Kapamilya needs to gather an estimated 7 million signatures, or at least 10 per cent of Philippines’ voting population and no less than 3 per cent of voters in each congressional district to be able to pass the law of allowing for a new franchise for ABS-CBN.

The livestream of the webinar has gained 20,000 views and another 500 joined Kapamilya World online’s watch party.

NUJP Chairman Nonoy Espina said that the initiative is a huge step forward after the decision to shut down ABS-CBN despite the visible outrage of the citizens. “With the initiative of PIRMA Kapamilya, the Filipino people will finally be able to voice out their own opinions about ABS-CBN’s franchise,” added Espina.

Read more here, and find out how to sign on to the initiative.

The IFJ said: “IFJ stands with NUJP to support the initiative to bring back the ABS-CBN. The shutdown of the largest broadcasters amid the global pandemic has blocked access to information for Filipino people. IFJ calls on Filipinos to sign onto this ground-breaking public campaign to put the ABS-CBN back on air.

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram