Filipino Youth in Canada Defend Press Freedom: Unity Statement

Reference: Nicole Sudiacal, Interim Chairperson (

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We, the Filipino youth in Canada, condemn Duterte’s fascist attack on the press after issuing orders to shut down ABS-CBN on May 5, 2020. This attack comes two days after World Press Freedom Day –  a gruesome reality for journalists and media outlets critical of the Duterte administration as press freedom continues to be repressed. 

ABS-CBN is the leading and largest broadcasting network in the Philippines. It serves not just the National Capital Region, but also many of the rural and provincial areas of the country. In some areas, ABS-CBN’s channels and radio stations are the only sources of information that they can access. It is the longest-running network, having shut down after the declaration of martial law by Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1972, and coming back into operation after the fall of the dictator. 

ABS-CBN was issued a cease-and-desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) the day after its franchise license expired. This put 11,000 workers out of a job. The nation has also lost 42 television stations, 18 FM stations, and 5 AM stations, including DZMM radio. As Filipinos in Canada, The Filipino Channel (TFC) owned by ABS-CBN, plays a significant role for Filipino migrant families in the diaspora – keeping us connected and grounded culturally and socially while also informed of news back home. 

This incident is not only exclusive to ABS-CBN as it joins the experiences of other media outlets in the country critical of the Duterte administration, such as Rappler. False accusations against these networks include tax-evasion accusations, attempts to revoke certificates of incorporation, and arrests of their CEOs such as Maria Ressa.

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens in the Philippines, free and accessible information from a trustworthy news source is essential and a right to all people. It is a disservice to the Filipino people when information at this critical time can save lives. This order is only the latest instance of Duterte’s anti-people policies against the Filipino people, in the homeland and abroad – from employing militarization to enforce Community Quarantine, to retracting cash aid for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

We, the Filipino youth of today, see parallels with our elders who, as youth themselves, witnessed media blackouts and takeovers under Marcos’ dictatorship. We amplify this blatant attack to bring to light Duterte’s repressive and fascist regime against the people’s dissent and dissatisfaction towards the current administration. 

As an overseas chapter of Anakbayan Canada, we condemn the suppression of freedom of information and expression and stand in strong solidarity with the workers, journalists, reporters, and freedom defenders. We also express our solidarity to the workers of ABS-CBN and their families.

We invite the Filipino youth in Canada to join this call to defend press freedom, freedom of speech, and to uphold our democratic rights.

Uphold democratic rights!
Join Anakbayan!
Lumalakas, lumalawak, lumalaban!

We sign this as individuals or affiliates of organizations who stand against the ABS-CBN shutdown. Institutions are listed for identification purposes only.


Charlene Herrera, Anakbayan Ottawa
Jackie Stol, Anakbayan Montreal
Stef Martin, Anakbayan Toronto
Fatima Barron, Anakbayan Toronto
Aisha Kaalim, Anakbayan Toronto
Lara Maestro, Sulong UBC
Andi Vicente, Anakbayan Ottawa
Sherilyn Recinto, Anakbayan Montreal
Sheryl Anne Montano, Centre for Philippine Concerns
Zharmaine Ante, Anakbayan Montreal
Daisy Espinosa
Karla Villanueva Danan
Mary Ann Factura, Migrante Ontario
Ashley Saulog, University of Winnipeg
Silvia Gonzalez
Stefanie Martin, Anakbayan Toronto
Alia Ceniza Rasul, Tita Collective
Justine Danielle
Sherlaine Recinto, Anakbayan Montreal
Isabelle Espaldon
Allyson Aritcheta
Shayne Hontiveros, Anakbayan Toronto
John Carlo Masajo, Filipino Canadian Association of Ryerson
Theresa Kenney, McMaster University
Stephanie Sarmiento
Lexy Baluyot
Daniella Dela Peña, University of Toronto and Miracle Management
Dani Magsumbol
Miguel Mabilangan
Ysabel Tuason, Anakbayan Toronto
Lyla Luciano Anakbayan Alberta
Ryan Greenlaw, KWCHRP
Andy Tran, TCHRP
Meryl Ochoa
Sofia Powell
Dana Aika Miranda Anakbayan Davis, Mga Kapatid, University of California – Davis
Calvin Cruz, Sulong UBC
Justinne Ramirez ,Tulayan
Stephanie Fung, Chinatown Tenants Organization
Christy Sebastian
Katherina M Yerro
Charity Cruz, Anakbayan Toronto
Justine Abigail Yu
Marie Espina
Kebyo Feliciano, Anakbayan Toronto
Gelaine Santiago, Cambio & Co.
Anne Azucena, Sikohiloyang Pilipinx
Victoria Marie Sawal, ACTRA


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