MANILA - Malacañang acknowledged on Tuesday the services of Philippine broadcast giant ABS-CBN to the country as the National Telecommunications Commission ordered the company to stop its broadcast operations for lack of a valid franchise.
The NTC on Tuesday ordered the media giant to “cease and desist” from broadcasting on television and radio, a day after the company’s 25-year operating franchise expired. NTC said the order is immediately executory.
"We thank the network for its services to the Filipino nation and people especially in this time of COVID-19," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
"But in the absence of a legislative franchise, as we have earlier said, ABS-CBN’s continued operation is entirely with the NTC’s decision," he said.
The NTC is tasked with regulating and supervising radio and television broadcast stations.
The "cease and desist" order comes even as Congress leaders favor the continuing operation of ABS-CBN. Lawmakers have maintained they have the sole power to act on franchises such as that of ABS-CBN.
Roque reiterated how President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously threatened to close the company, accepted ABS-CBN's apology and left the fate of its franchise to Congress.
"Let the public be informed that broadcast franchises are within the authority of Congress. It has discretion on what to do with the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN and other broadcasting companies similarly situated," Roque said.
He added that the broadcast giant is "free to exhaust all legal remedies available to it."
ABS-CBN in a statement noted how the company has been providing information and aid especially during the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected millions of Filipinos.
"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," it said in a statement.
"ABS-CBN remains committed to being in the service of the Filipino and we will find ways to continue providing meaningful service to them," it added.
ABS-CBN will go off air on Tuesday night in compliance with the NTC order.
news.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.