ABS-CBN shutdown also has 'chilling effect' on creative writers: screenwriter

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 08:58 AM

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MANILA - The shutdown of ABS-CBN also has a chilling effect on creative writers, a former official of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) said Wednesday following his resignation from government.

Screenwriter Jerry Gracio, who also writes for the network, made public his resignation on Monday, saying he can no longer "serve a fascist government."

"Kung may chilling effect sa press, tingin ko may ganun ding epekto sa mga manunulat, kasi magiging maingat sila sa depiction ng kung anong nangyayari," he told ANC.

(If there's a chilling effect on the press, I think there's also the same effect on creative writers because they will be more careful in depicting what's happening.)

"Nauulit ang nangyayari sa panahon ni Rizal na kailangang i-ban ang Noli (Me Tangere) at (El) Filibusterismo at kailangan mag-ingat ang mga manunulat."

(What's happening during the time of Rizal is being repeated, when Noli and El Fili were banned and writers had to be careful.)

"Mag-iingat ka sa kung ano ang isusulat mo. Last time natandaan natin sinasabi ni Cong. (Jesus Crispin) Remulla tungkol creative writers sa ABS-CBN dahil palagi daw dinedepict ang politiko bilang masasama."

(You will be careful on what you write. We can recall Cong. Remulla saying ABS-CBN creative writers always depict politicians as bad guys.)

Teleseryes or TV series depict what the Filipinos desire, Gracio said.

"Bakit hanggang ngayon buhay si Cardo? Kasi hanggang ngayon naghahanap tayo ng pulis na hindi maglilingkod sa makapangyarihan kung hindi maglilingkod sa taumbayan," he said.

(Why does Cardo live on? Because the Filpinos continue to search for a policeman who will serve the people, not the powerful.)

Gracio said he had campaigned for President Rodrigo Duterte but quit his post, which he assumed during the previous administration, when the latter was seated into office in 2016 following the supposed extrajudicial killings under the drug war.

"Hindi ko na matatanggap ang patuloy na pagsikil sa ating mga karapatan, ang pinakahuli ay ang pagpapasara sa ABS-CBN," he said.

(I can no longer accept the violation of our rights, most recently the closure of ABS-CBN.)

Gracio, meantime, criticized national artist F. Sionil Jose for supporting ABS-CBN's shutdown.

"The Filipinos don’t need F. Sionil Jose. Ilan ba ang nagbasa kay F. Sionil Jose," he said.

"May pakiramdam ako na hindi nakasabay si ginoong F. Sionil Jose sa panahon. Mukhang naiwan ang kaniyang pagiisip sa Cold War era."

(It seems Mr. F. Sionil Jose was unable to get with the times. His thinking seems to be stuck in the Cold War era.)

Voting 70-11, the House panel on Friday denied ABS-CBN a fresh license to operate, a move seen by some sectors as curtailment of press freedom and endangerment of the livelihood of some 11,000 workers.