The ABS-CBN corporation announced on August 26 that they would shut down 12 local TV Patrol programs following their final broadcast last Friday, as a result of the denial of the franchise renewal.
For over three decades, these 21 regional stations served as sources of credible news to viewers in their own dialects.
“ABS-CBN Regional serves Filipinos in remote areas not reached by other television signals. But more than delivering breaking news, ABS-CBN Regional news teams are also the first to bring aid and relief to communities struck by calamities,” said ABS-CBN regional head Tata Sy.
These 12 include TV Patrol programs for North Luzon (Baguio, Dagupan, Ilocos, Isabela and Pampanga), Bicol (Naga, Legazpi), Palawan, Southern Tagalog (CALABARZON), Central Visayas (Cebu, Dumaguete, Bohol), Negros (Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental), Panay (Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras), Eastern Visayas (Samar, Leyte), North Mindanao (Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental Lanao Del Norte, CARAGA, Dipolog), South Central Mindanao (SOCSKSARGEN, Cotabato), Southern Mindanao (Davao), and Chavacano (Zamboanga).
“Inspired by Kapitan Geny Lopez’ vision of building bridges in the air, ABS CBN Regional through its ‘TV Patrol’ programs and public service has accomplished more than just building the proverbial bridges. In its distinctive way, ABS CBN Regional helped build a nation,” Sy said.
Many other public service initiatives of the network focused on health, education, and the environment will also come to a close, such as the “Grand Halad sa Kapamilya”.
Additionally, ABS-CBN Regional will also cease production of its nine morning shows.
Moreover, MOR 101.9, previously the FM station of ABS-CBN, held a farewell concert on Friday. Titled “Salamat, For Life,” the concert featured musicians such as Regine Velasquez, Moira dela Torre, and Arnel Pineda.
As the programs aired for the last time on Friday afternoon, ABS-CBN Bacolod news anchor Barbara Mijares bid farewell to their viewers.
“Magpakabakod kita kag tobtob sa madason naton na pagkit-anay. Madamo gid na salamat sa inyo amon mga Kapamilya (We have to be strong, until we meet again. Thank you all, Kapamilya),” Mijares said.
“Sa ini na unos na amon na agyan, ara kamo diapon (In this storm we are facing, you are still here),” she added.
The 81 employees of ABS-CBN Bacolod will lose their jobs when the network closes on August 31.
On Friday night, Vice President Leni Robredo thanked the ABS-CBN Regional Network Group, specifically ABS-CBN Bicol, for their continuous service throughout the years.
“ABS-CBN Bicol has been a big part of our homes and our lives for many years. I am sure it’s the same thing for many other Bicolanos like me,” Robredo said.
“Today, as they bid us goodbye, we want to thank the ABS-CBN Bicol family for the many years of service to the Bicolanos,” she said.
She recalled a visit to Ocampo in her home province where members of distant communities enjoyed the shows of ABS-CBN.
”We brought with us a generator set which the community can share. The people who were waiting for us were ecstatic because they said, they can finally watch ABS-CBN shows,” Robredo said.
In Caramoan town, she said that the community relied on two households with their own generators to watch ABS-CBN programs such as the “Ang Probinsyano.”
“As all the other ABS-CBN regional networks are closing their operations tonight, I am sure a lot of those living in the provinces are also feeling the same sadness,” the vice president mentioned. “I hope we take this moment to thank all of the men and women behind the Regional Networks for their service to us all.”
Along with the closing of the regional networks, multiple other ventures and retail businesses of the network will permanently cease operations by the end of this month.
“Pinoy fans now have limited ways to revel in the Kapamilya spirit beyond their screens as ABS-CBN’s experience and retail businesses are shutting down their operations permanently by August 31, including the Studio Tours, ABS-CBN Store, Hado Pilipinas, Heroes Burger, and ABS-CBN Studio Experience,” the network said.
ABS-CBN shut down its broadcast operations on May 5 after receiving a cease-and-desist from the National Telecommunications Commision (NTC) after the expiration of its franchise on May 4. In July, the network’s franchise bid was denied by the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises for allegedly committing “numerous violations”. However, advocates of the network have condemned this action to be politically motivated.
In a statement, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines said that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s vendetta against the network adversely affected many oif ABS-CBN’s workers, and the shutdown would also negtively affect the regions that they served.
“Not only it deprives those workers of a decent job, but it also deprives Filipinos of remote areas that are not reached by other television signals from receiving fast and reliable news most especially that we are experiencing a worldwide pandemic. To add on, ABS-CBN regional news teams were the first to bring aid and relief to these communities that are struck by calamities or [have] been affected by this pandemic,” the organization said. [P]
Photo from Jes Aznar / The New York Times