MANILA - The Chamber of Commerce in the Philippine Islands (CCPI) on Tuesday slammed the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) order shutting down ABS-CBN's broadcast operations amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, the CCPI said that in a time when Filipinos need timely information and education on the novel coronavirus, the NTC's move to close the Philippines' largest media network was "manifest of a systemic misplaced disregard for the Filipino people and country by concerned government agencies."
The chamber also blasted the government for closing ABS-CBN's broadcast operations while Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs) were allowed to reopen despite being linked to rise in crime and tax evasion.
"The shutdown of ABS-CBN also manifests a distorted sense of priorities coming at a time when POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations) are being allowed to reopen its failure to pay the proper taxes and with its attendant partner crimes of prostitution, kidnapping, corruption, bribery, drugs," the CCPI said.
CCPI said it stands "millions of Filipinos who need ABS-CBN for its information, social fulfillment and educational services."
"We pray, hope and request for sanity to stop this debacle," the CCPI said.
The NTC ordered ABS-CBN to “cease and desist” from broadcasting on television and radio, one day after the company’s 25-year operating franchise expired.
In a cease-and-desist order (CDO) dated May 5, the agency said the network must stop its broadcast operations "due to the expiration of its congressional franchise" on May 4.
It said the network should "stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide "absent a valid Congressional Franchise as required by law'."
Solicitor General Jose Calida earlier warned the agency against issuing a temporary permit to operate for ABS-CBN.
Calida has asked the Supreme Court to invalidate ABS-CBN's franchise for its alleged Constitutional violations, but the high court has yet to rule on the matter.