President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the National Capital Region and outlying provinces under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) supposedly in response to the plea of health care workers to do just that. But that was only part of their suggestion that the government reassess its anti-pandemic strategy. Such a reassessment was glaringly absent in Mr. Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 27, despite the surge in the number of Filipinos afflicted with the disease.
As ardently observed as Christmas in these Catholic isles, Lent was all of four months ago, but ABS-CBN broadcaster and former Philippine Vice-President Noli De Castro recently described what his network is currently going through as a “calvary.”
Rather than demolishing the oligarchy, the shutdown of ABS-CBN is an assault on the Republic, whose fundamentals are the independence of the executive, legislative and judicial branches and representative government’s heeding the people’s sentiments.
Everyone please note that the congressmen opposed to the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN are no experts on the professional and ethical standards of journalism.
Unless reversed by a higher court, the conviction for cyber libel of Rappler’s Maria Ressa and its former researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. will further shrink not only the democratic space for free expression and press freedom but also the people’s right to be informed on matters relevant to their lives as citizens and as human beings.