UST Throws Full Support Behind ABS-CBN Amid Franchise Crisis
The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas (UST) has officially thrown its full support behind beleaguered broadcast giant ABS-CBN, which is currently facing the threat of being shut down by government amid franchise renewal issues.
“We are one with ABS-CBN in their commitment to continue their service to the Filipino people and the global community,” UST said in a statement on its social media accounts.
“The University of Santo Tomas wishes to extend its support to ABS-CBN, its media partner. ABS-CBN has won numerous awards for its entertainment, news, and public service programs at the USTv Students' Choice Awards. We offer our prayers for the network to be able to renew its franchise, and we are one with them in their commitment to continue their service to the Filipino people and the global community,” it said.
Meanwhile, faculty and staff of its Journalism program have also expressed indignation toward what they see as government’s attack on press freedom.
“The quo warranto petition against the country’s largest media network is a direct assault on this sacrosanct freedom,” reads their statement.
UST is one of the Philippines’ top performing universities. It consistently ranks among the world’s top universities along with the University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), and De La Salle University(DLSU), based on the annual QS Global World Rankings. UP, ADMU, UST, and DLSU are colloquially referred to as the “Big Four” universities in the Philippines.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020. Without its renewal, the future of the corporation remains uncertain. House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said that it is unlikely that the House will be able to tackle the issue of the network’s franchise before it expires because they are scheduled to go on summer break on March 14.
On February 10, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition at the Supreme Court against the network, alleging that it violated provisions of its franchise.