The core issue

"I agree with National Artist F. Sionil Jose."



I am amused at the new tack being used by ABS-CBN to condemn its shutdown by the National Telecommunication Commission.

Santa Banana, after gathering all its talents and bleeding hearts, now the Lopez-owned network has a signature campaign. I can only quote what F. Sionil Jose wrote in his column about this controversy. He wrote:

“All too often we are lulled into acquiescence, if not apathy, by the seductive allure of slogans of universal abstractions like freedom and the gloss and glitter of instruments like ABS-CBN. Yes, ABS-CBN indeed has its uses. But, reduced to its very core, it is pure entertainment. History is full of similar, even analogous, examples. When the ancient Romans were restive, the Caesars gave them parades and circuses. As for freedom it is the camouflage of the true nature of ABS-CBN just like the sea that hides the iceberg. Freedom is also the sugar coating that attracts libertarians, the sincere believers in human rights, who have no time to look deeper beyond the glossy surface.”

“Listen – the real issue with ABS-CBN and its owners is not press freedom. It is MONEY, POLITICS AND POWER – how power is acquired, how it is abused and maintained, and most of all, how it obstructs this country’s economic and democratic development. If allowed to continue, will it now return the billions it owes the government?”

F.Sionil Jose is a National Artist for Literature. He is a writer I admire and respect for his political and socio-economic views. I have read most of his novels and I wish I could write as well as he does.

Frankie – that is what I call him; he is a fellow Ilocano – concludes:

“ABS-CBN is not crucial to the nation’s survival, nor does its closure mark the end of press freedom. Hundreds of TV and radio stations and broadsheets will continue to purvey news and views. Another is the omnipresent social media wide open to both idiots and intellectuals. In fact, the removal of this media giant will contribute to the leveling of the playing field and strengthening of democracy.”

Amen, I say to that. To a lot of people, except those who cannot think beyond their noses, the Philippines can survive the closure of ABS-CBN, this pandemic, as we have survived many trials in the past.


Every time I watch television, I feel depressed. All I see are negative news items about COVID-19.

Santa Banana, global cases of coronavirus have reached over five million – and it’s still rising. The world is on recession, and that includes us. Here at home, the number of COVID cases is still rising. The number of health workers abroad who are getting infected is also rising.

The World Health Organization says that 60 million people will become poor as a result of this pandemic.

Another piece of bad news is that over half of private hospitals nationwide are declaring bankruptcy because health insurers cannot pay them.

The most depressing news is the finding of scientists that coronavirus will be here to stay. This means there will no longer be handshakes, hugs and kisses. Shall we all just stay home?

I wonder how our own economy can recover when the rest of the world is also on recession. Every nation in Southeast Asia, for instance, will now be scrambling for investments. My gulay, we will really be in trouble upon our return to the new normal!

At least we still have ample rice supply.

I survived World War II and I can say that this coronavirus pandemic is something different. I pray that God will hear our prayers.


I watched TV last Sunday and saw the Inter-Agency Task Force claiming that coronavirus cases here are already plateauing and flattening. I am in disbelief – how can this happen when cases are still surging?

Health Secretary Francisco Duque was widely criticized for saying we are now on the second wave. But President Duterte wants to maintain the status quo. Still Duque is not yet off the hook – the President wants a probe into allegedly overpriced medical supplies.


Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano has a list of local government officials who committed anomalies in relation to the Social Amelioration Program. I wonder if he would ever make the list public. I say he should.

Topics: Emil Jurado , ABS-CBN , National Telecommunication Commission , NTC , F. Sionil Jose
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