FOR the labor group General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), the junking of ABS-CBN Corporation's bid for a 25-year franchise is "a final nail to seal the coffin of press freedom."
Its secretary-general Wennie Sancho said the chilling effect is that it is like "a dagger pointing at the heart of our democracy particularly our freedom of expression."
"While those who opposed the franchise accused the network of being anti-labor, it turned out that the 70 lawmakers who voted not to grant ABS-CBN with the franchise are the ones who are anti-labor because they are responsible of more than 11,000 workers and their families," he said.
Sancho added that Filipinos have relied on the lawmakers to serve the interest of the people but they failed them because they have served their own interest and those who are interested to take over ABS-CBN.
They did not serve the voice of the people, the labor leader stressed, adding that by junking the media network's franchise bid, they have just killed the goose that lay golden eggs.
The House Committee on Legislative Franchises Friday, July 10, 2020, voted to deny ABS-CBN's bid for a 25-year franchise.
Seventy congressmen voted not to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise while 11 voted in favor of the network, two inhibited and one abstained.
For Sancho, the decision was wrong because they have deprived one of the country's biggest taxpayers.
"We have added to the large scale unemployment taking place in the country now," he said, hoping that the government can do something to the affected workers of the network.
The Negros Press Club (NPC), meanwhile, is saddened by the decision.
The oldest press club in the country, in a statement, said at this time when everyone is alarmed over the Covid-19 pandemic, 11,000 workers will face more anxiety for losing their jobs.
Around 80 employees of ABS-CBN Bacolod were among those affected. The NPC is one with them in this difficult and trying moment.
"May this development not hinder media practitioners from doing their job and instead encourage them to continue serving the public with fairness and truth," it said, adding that "we urged the media to unite in these trying times."