Regine Velasquez (MNS photo)

MANILA, Jan 30 (Mabuhay) — Regine Velasquez had an instant answer when asked what she considers her proudest moment as a Kapamilya, over two years since she returned to ABS-CBN.

“That I’m still here,” she said, “that despite what happened, ni hindi sumagi sa isip ko na iwan sila.”

Velasquez waxed sentimental about her home network during a virtual conference for “Freedom,” her February 14 concert to be streamed live on

“Sa akin, tinanggap nila ako with open arms, nang lubos-lubos, tapos kung kailan nila ako kailangan, hindi ako mag-si-stay? Parang weird iyon sa akin,” she said.

Velasquez, a music icon whose career spans 35 years, was accorded a grand welcome by ABS-CBN when she officially signed with the network in October 2018.

“I’m happy to be here, despite what’s going on, despite the franchise not being granted,” Velasquez said.

ABS-CBN was forced off free television and radio in mid-2020, when a congressional panel voted to reject the network’s bid for a fresh broadcast franchise.

It has since migrated its library of content to digital, while also forging partnerships with other TV networks — Zoe Broadcasting Network and, more recently, TV5 — to bring its programs to its traditional viewers.

“Nandito ako for them. I wanted to prove to them that I’m here, and I’m not leaving. I’m not going anywhere. And I am happy to be here,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez, whose husband, fellow OPM pillar Ogie Alcasid, is also with ABS-CBN, admitted that the franchise denial compounded her anxiety due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was a little scared of what’s going to happen, kasi siyempre, meron kaming mga responsibilities, may anak kami. I was worried for a time,” she said,

She credited Alcasid for helping allay her fears, saying they both drew from their faith in counting on better days for the company.

“True enough, He just kept blessing us and blessing us,” Velasquez said. “This thing that happened to ABS-CBN, nakakalungkot, but at the same time, I don’t know, pero excited ako.”

Just a few days prior to the media conference, “ASAP Natin ‘To,” which Velasquez headlines alongside fellow music veterans, made television history as it aired for the first time on TV5, joining the simulcast on ABS-CBN’s digital and cable platforms, as well as A2Z.

“Nakakatuwa to be able to witness it, and to be able to be part of it. Nakaka proud lang,” Velasquez said, as she expressed excitement over “big possibilities” of the unprecedented partnership between the two networks. (MNS)

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