Team NIV captain Ecka Sibug withdraws GE participation, to exit MNL48
In a shocking turn of events today, Team NIV captain Ecka Sibug has decided to withdraw from the upcoming MNL48 Third General Election and leave the group.
In a press release posted through the group’s official website (https://mnl48.ph) and Fanclub App earlier today, HalloHallo Entertainment Inc. (HHE) has announced that Sibug will not participate from the Third General Election to "pursue personal endeavors” that the management understands. Furthermore, Sibug will also exit the idol industry and will focus instead in taking a different career path.
In her statement, Sibug recalls her experiences with the group and how it helped her to be a better person. “Being part of MNL48 for 3 years has brought me to new lessons and opportunities. I've gained pains turned into lessons, co-aspirants turned into a family, and confidence that made me realize that I should continue that passion I have. This experience tested me and motivated me to keep on going and growing. I am beyond grateful for all these experiences knowing that I am not alone with this journey. All these are engraved to my hearts and will be forever treasured", she said.
Sibug also promised to continue charting her own path despite leaving the group. “My journey will not end from here. This is just a new beginning. I am still the Ecka you knew but a better version of Ericka. A person who treasures and holds all the things I have learned. Thank you so much for joining me in my journey. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be grateful. I, MNL48 Ecka, celebrating this MNL48 journey with you. My flight will not stop. I will surely soar high”, she added.
Prior to this announcement, Sibug posted a lengthy reel of Instagram stories about her past experiences with MNL48 last night, fueling speculations amongst fans. She also gave an emotional message to her fellow Team NIV members during their Regroup online show last September 18. “Mawala man ako sa MNL o hindi, mahal na mahal ko kayo. Ite-treasure ko lahat ng mga moments na meron tayong [Team] N4. Sobrang mahal na mahal ko kayo, sobra-sobra, lahat ng MNL48 [members]. Kaya sana tatagan niyo pa lalo, galingan niyo palagi”, she said.
Known for her singing prowess, musical skills and acoustic covers, Sibug has accomplished a lot since entering the group two years ago. Aside from heading Team NIV, she has participated in two team songs “Palusot Ko’y Maybe” and “1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku”. Furthermore, she also starred in the first-ever MNL48 Presents project “2020 Vision” last March and was bound to be part of the senbatsu for the sixth single’s coupling song “10nen Zakura”. Sibug also ventured into being an online entrepreneur during the quarantine period, establishing the clothing brand Lookback Clothing with fellow Team NIV member Belle delos Reyes.
Fans are currently expressing their messages of gratitude to Sibug’s achievements as an MNL48 member and good-luck wishes by tweeting using the hashtag #ThankYouEcka which quickly made it to the top trending topics on Twitter Philippines today.
Sibug is now the seventh official member to withdraw from the Third General Election race which was extended by the Covid-19 pandemic, following Rans Rifol, Rowee Villaflores, Yssa Bautista, Lei Lacumba, Joyce Daita and Daryll Matalino leaving the list of official members to 45.