Media organizations expressed their dismay on Aug. 28 over ABS-CBN’s regional networks closure after the House of Representatives rejected the broadcasting giant’s bid for a new franchise.

More of ABS-CBN’s businesses and services will permanently cease operations by Aug. 31. 

A total of 12 regional stations bid goodbye to their viewers – TV Patrol North Luzon, Bicol, Palawan, Southern Tagalog, Central Visayas, Negros, Panay, Eastern Visayas, North Mindanao, South Central Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and Chavacano. 

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) called the latest casualty “a black day for Philippine Journalism.” 

It’s a black day for independent media across the Philippines as ABS-CBN News airs its final TV Patrol newscasts in provincial stations then pulls the plug for good after more than three decades,” FOCAP said in a statement. 

According to FOCAP, the closure will deprive Filipinos of a fast and credible news source, especially now that the country is facing a life-threatening pandemic.  

Many isolated and disaster-prone villages unreached by other networks can dangerously lose their access to national news, including government pronouncements,” the organization said. 

According to FOCAP, it is an avoidable national tragedy which was inflicted by the very people who were meant to protect Filipinos from all adversity. 

We will never forget. And the struggle will continue,” FOCAP said. 

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) stressed that the closure of ABS-CBN’s regional stations took the job of hundreds of their colleagues, joining the thousands more stripped of their employment after “the legislative lapdogs of a vindictive president shut down the country’s largest network by denying it a new franchise.” 

At least 4,000 employees of ABS-CBN’s Regional Network group have lost their jobs. 

The journalists’ union pointed out that the government’s relentless assaults on the critical and independent media and the continuing attacks on the people’s basic rights and freedoms only prove that democracy is under siege.

The NUJP urged their fellow colleagues and the Filipino people to stand together and resist the continued undermining of laws, rights, and liberties by the very institutions that are supposed to protect these.  

“We can, we must, ward off the darkness before it totally descends on us,” the group concluded. Jayziel Khim Budino and Jessica Ivy Zapata