Amidst the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the closure of ABS-CBN, one of the largest television networks in the Philippines, has currently become a hot topic in the pageant-crazy nation.
The country’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order, forcing ABS-CBN to go off the air when their license to operate expired on Monday, May 4. Apparently, the network has not received approval for its franchise renewal of the state-owned frequency that would have enabled them to continue broadcasting.
Former Miss Universe winners, Catriona Gray and Pia Wurtzbach took to social media to express their stance on the controversial issue. Both Filipina beauty queens opposed to the shutdown of the network.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray wrote in an Instagram post, “As we face this global pandemic as a nation, fast and accessible information is key to saving lives. By silencing voices we’re doing a disservice to our countrymen who need it most.”
Catriona added, “At a time in our history when we should be remembered for how we all came together to serve each other. When we look back, what will be remembered instead?”
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach shared with her over 10 million followers on Instagram how she spent her teenage years in the halls of ABS-CBN which she considered as a home. She said the network holds a special place in her heart.
Pia has also left a message for her network family. She wrote, “To my [ABS-CBN] family, I stand by you. I am still hopeful that all of this is just a challenge. Maayos rin ang lahat [everything will be alright].”
The Philippines, with over 100 million people, has been known as one of the world’s greatest pageant fans.
Photos: GMA Network, Binibining Pilipinas, Catriona Gray