MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - De La Salle University on Tuesday showed support to ABS-CBN Corp., hours after the broadcast giant was ordered by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to shut down its TV and radio operations.
In Facebook and Twitters posts, the facade of the university's Manila campus is seen lighted up in red, green and blue, which are the signature colors of ABS-CBN.
"In solidarity with ABS-CBN, its employees, and the millions of Filipinos who depend on the broadcast network for news and information, De La Salle University lights up the iconic St. La Salle Hall in the colors of the company to appeal to the National Telecommunications Commission to grant provisional authority for the continued operation of the network," it said.
The University of the Philippines Diliman College of Mass Communication, meanwhile, said in a statement that the government is demonstrating the lengths it will go to silence critical media voices.
"During the [enhanced community quarantine], we have witnessed the coverage of the journalist-frontliners from ABS-CBN in covering the pandemic," it said in a Facebook post.
"As we continue to battle this health crisis, we need a free press to serve as a faithful chronicler of events, a platform for the diversity of voices to be heard, and, more importantly, the public's watchdog of inept, abusive, and corrupt governance," it added.
The Silliman University Kapunungan sa mga Mass Communicators said in a Facebook post that the network serves as "a media and entertainment corporation while being socially interactive through its various community programs."
"Shutting down the Philippines' largest TV network that became home to 11,000 Filipino workers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, clearly exhibits a lack of understanding and compassion towards the affected employees and their families," the group said.
"Thousands of hardworking individuals have lost their jobs during a dreaded crisis—an unacceptable betrayal from the perseverance and dedication they have shown," it added.
The NTC earlier in the day ordered ABS-CBN to “cease and desist” its TV and radio broadcast operations, one day after the company’s 25-year operating franchise expired.
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'."
ABS-CBN Corp., which employs around 11,000 workers, was given 10 days from receipt of the order "to respond as to why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled."
ABS-CBN Corp. stopped its broadcast operations Tuesday night in compliance with the NTC order.
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.
The NTC order 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.