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Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte Raises ABS-CBN Closure vs. Rival Mike Defensor

National issue in local politics.
IMAGE JOY BELMONTE/FACEBOOK
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Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte took her challenger to task for voting to shutter ABS-CBN Corp at the onset of the pandemic and leaving thousands jobless, as she campaigned for reelection in the country's most vote-rich city.

Belmonte did not mention by name Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, the only mayoral candidate in Quezon City that fit that description. The incumbent also took a swipe at the lawmaker for promoting the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin as COVID treatment.

"Yung iba diyan, mas inuna ang pagpapasara sa ABS-CBN. 'Yan may resibo. 'Yan ang ipaliwanag mo sa mga tao na habang nasa gitna tayo ng krisis, libo-libong pamilya ang nagtiis at natiis mong mawalan ng trabaho. Ni hindi mo insip kung paano na ang pagkain at pag-aaral ng mga anak ng mga taga-ABS-CBN o mga negosyong nakadepende sa kumpanyang yan na nagsara din," she said.

ABS-CBN headquarters is located in Quezon City and its star-building machinery has earned the metropolis the nickname "City of Stars." In February 2020, Belmonte issued a statement in support of the Lopez-owned broadcaster's franchise renewal.

ABS-CBN was taken off the air in May 2020 after its franchise expired and it ceased broadcast permanently in July that same year after 70 members of a House of Representatives committee, including Defensor, voted to deny the franchise application.

Opponents of the franchise renewal raised ABS-CBN's alleged non-failure of taxes, "biased" news coverage, and foreign ownership that violated the constitution. ABS-CBN executives and resource personnel refuted all allegations in marathon hearings. 

With 1.4 million registered voters based on Comelec data, Quezon City is the most vote-rich city in the Philippines and 14th overall if the ranking also includes provinces. Cebu and Cavite lead the list.

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Quezon City is also home to headquarters of the agriculture, agrarian reform and environment departments and major universities led by UP Diliman and Ateneo de Manila. ABS-CBN's erstwhile rival, GMA Network, is also located in the city.

FromReportr World

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