The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) hosted a webinar today, August 10, to discuss PIRMA Kapamilya — the People’s Initiative to bring ABS-CBN back on air by granting it a new franchise, and how the Filipino people can participate in the campaign.

PIRMA Kapamilya convenors, Attys. Third Bagro, Eirene Aguilla, and Mike Tiu, and Leon Flores III, shared how the initiative was launched after the House Committee of Legislative Franchises voted to deny ABS-CBN a new 25-year franchise.

“We believe that the decision of the Congress is unfair and unjustified,” said Bargo, who noted that the support for ABS-CBN continues to grow despite the denial of franchise.

According to a Veritas Survey shared by the convenors, 68% of Filipinos support the initiative, which is covered by Article VI Section 32 of the 1987 Constitution states: “the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act of law or part thereof passed by Congress or local legislative body…”

To successfully pass a law granting ABS-CBN a new franchise, PIRMA Kapamilya needs to get an estimated 7 million signatures comprising at least 10% of the country’s voting population AND no less than 3% of voters in each congressional district.

Former congressman Neri Colmenares, chairman of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, and Bayan Muna Representative Karlos Zarate also shared their view on the initiative as well as other efforts to bring back the network.

Zarate said the Makabayan bloc is still continuing efforts to bring the issue to the House plenary despite being rejected by the committee.

“We still have a chance,” he said, “because the shutdown of ABS-CBN is the people’s issue.”

“It is only appropriate for the people to start and initiate the change,” Zarate said, referring to the initiative.

“Our congressmen can draft the best bills, but they will always need the people’s support,” Colmenares said.

The livestream of the webinar gained 20,000 views while another 500 joined Kapamilya World Online’s watch party.

The webinar is the first of similar activities to spread awareness not only of the initiative but also the importance if press freedom and freedom of information to democracy.