MANILA - ABS-CBN Corp. will stop its broadcast operations Tuesday night in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission's order following the lapse of its franchise.
In a statement, the country's largest media network cited how the order was issued despite earlier legislative resolutions assuring the issuance of a provisional authority pending the renewal of its broadcast license.
Several bills for the renewal of its franchise, which lapsed Monday, are pending at the House of Representatives.
NTC said the order is immediately executory. It covers 42 television stations across the country, including the flagship Channel 2, 10 digital broadcast channels, 18 FM stations and 5 AM stations, including DZMM radio.
"Millions of Filipinos will lose their source of news and entertainment when ABS-CBN is ordered to go off-air on TV and radio tonight (5 May 2020) when people need crucial and timely information as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic," said ABS-CBN Corp. in a statement.
"This is in compliance with the cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) today that prohibits ABS-CBN from continuing its broadcast operations effective immediately," it said.
The network cited Senate Resolution No. 40 passed on March 4, which expresses the chamber's sense that ABS-CBN should be allowed to continue operations pending its franchise renewal.
It also cited the House of Representatives' committee on legislative franchises’ letter to the NTC saying it should give ABS-CBN provisional authority, the DOJ's guidance to the commission on the matter, and an earlier statement by NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba on ABS-CBN's continued operations.
"Despite Senate Resolution No. 40, the House of Representatives’ committee on legislative franchises’ letter, the guidance of the Department of Justice, and the sworn statement of NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, the NTC did not grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate while its franchise renewal remains pending in Congress," it said.
It recalled House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's statements in a DZMM interview last week, where he "even gave an assurance that there is no move to shut down the network."
The company noted how the company has been providing information and aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected millions of Filipinos.
"ABS-CBN has been providing comprehensive news coverage on the public health crisis and working with local governments and the private sector in providing food and basic goods for those in need through its “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” campaign. To date, it has delivered over P300 million worth of goods for the benefit of over 600,000 families affected by the enhanced community quarantine.
"We trust that the government will decide on our franchise with the best interest of the Filipino people in mind, recognizing ABS-CBN’s role and efforts in providing the latest news and information during these challenging times.
"ABS-CBN remains committed to being in the service of the Filipino and we will find ways to continue providing meaningful service to them."