LONG the home of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) through the ultra high frequency channel S+A, member schools of the collegiate league moved to show its support for media giant ABS-CBN following its forced shutdown of its broadcast operations early this week.
The schools issued their respective statements on the forced closure, lamenting the turn of events and how it was a big blow, among other things, to the flow of information especially during these trying times with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Filipinos need ABS-CBN now, especially now during these urgent times of the pandemic, when the information provided by our country’s broadcast journalists spells the difference between life and death for our citizens, most of whom still get their news from television and radio,” said Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Jet Villarin, SJ in a statement.
“We urge our lawmakers to act post-haste to approve the ABS-CBN franchise and restore its broadcast,” he added.
It was a testament shared by the University of Santo Tomas, which described ABS-CBN as “a constant companion of Filipinos here and abroad.”
“The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas laments the order to stop ABS-CBN from continuing its broadcast operations, as it is a clear disservice to the Filipino people, in time of the pandemic, when information, delivered fast and wide, is key to saving lives,” UST’s statement read.
On the part of Far Eastern University, the school said the timing of the closure could not have come at the most inopportune of time, particularly how a large number of employees could lose their jobs.
“In the face of a public health crisis, the unemployment of the network’s employees aggravates their economic and health situations as well as those of their families. They need a government that understands their plight,” FEU’s statement read, referring to the 11,000 people that ABS-CBN employs.
It went on to urge the network to exhaust all legal actions to resolve its current predicament.
On Tuesday evening, ABS-CBN stopped operations of Channel 2, DZMM, MOR and other regional television and radio stations, in compliance with a National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) order.
The order was issued after the expiry of its legislative franchise on May 4.
As ABS-CBN shut its operations, S+A also ceased broadcast.
S+A has been home to the UAAP for 20 years. It also broadcast games of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Premier Volleyball League and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League as well as events of ONE Championship, among others.
For now, ABS-CBN officials said not thing is definitive yet as far as their sports broadcast is concerned but that they are exploring their options. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo