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Philippine government to shut down ABS-CBN network

By: Ronnie Allen Campman

28 April 2020

ABS-CBN, The Philippines’ largest media group, is about to be shut down after complaints were filed by the Duterte administration for criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte's leadership. 


“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practice of ABS-CBN benefiting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers,” Jose Calida, the Philippine solicitor general, said in a statement. “These practices have gone unnoticed or were disregarded for years.”


Calida claims that ABS-CBN “abused the privilege granted by the state” when it introduced a pay-per-view channel without the government’s approval according to a New York Times article. 


Critics say this move is in retaliation to the broadcast network disagreeing with Duterte’s “War on Drugs” which has led to the deaths of somewhere over 12,000 Filipinos to date drawing international criticism. 


“These actions are part of a broader crackdown on media outlets and civil society groups that dare criticize him,” Human Rights Watch, a lobby group, said in a statement.


For Hawaiʻi residents, this may mean the end of The Filipino Channel—owned by ABS-CBN—and their connection to the Philippines. 


According to the 2010 Census, Hawaii had the highest Asian population in the country. There were 197,497 people who identified as Filipino, the second largest racial group in Hawaii at the time. This is 14.5 percent of the state’s total population of 1.36 million in 2010. 


Many of these people are a part of local Filipino groups like the Oahu Filipino Community Council, United Filipino Council of Hawaii or the Katipunan Club at the University of Hawaii. 


At the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Filipinos make up 9.4% of the student population in the fall 2019 enrollment. 


Sophomore Sam Alcantara at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa said she remembers watching TFC instead of Sesame Street like most toddlers growing up.  


In fact, she learned Filipino by watching TFC with her parents on Sunday Mornings. 


“This will sever my connection to the Philippines, to my family back home in California and my childhood,” Alcantara said.   

Lauryn Czarina Lim, the Public Relations Coordinator for UH Manoa’s Katipunan Club, will also feel the disconnect from her culture. 


“The Filipino Channel broke the language barrier between aunties and my grandparents growing up,” Lim said. “It brought me closer to my culture and it’s sad it won’t be around anymore.”  


Besides the United States, The Filipino Channel operates in over 40 countries including Australia, Canada and Japan.


The 25-year-old network’s contract expires on March 30 and they are currently in the process of renewing their franchise for another 25.  

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