MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo expressed her surprise that the government on Tuesday ordered to close the operations of broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. while Chinese online gambling companies or Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs) were allowed to reopen.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) earlier in the day 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 statement, the Vice President said that the company should not have been ordered to close as the country is still fighting the threats of the novel coronavirus.
“Lalong nakabibigla na isasara ang ABS-CBN habang muling pinapayagang magbukas ang mga POGO. Hindi mahirap matukoy kung alin sa dalawang ito ang mas nakatutulong sa pagtugon sa krisis na kinakaharap natin ngayon,” Robredo said.
Robredo recognized the efforts of the media company in providing valuable information to the public amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“All hands on deck dapat. All social institutions— including media— should be united under a single purpose: ang pagsiguro sa kaligtasan ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” Robredo said.
The Vice President expressed hopes that the government will realize that closing down ABS-CBN is not helping as the deadly coronavirus continues to claim lives.
“Umaasa tayong mamumulat ang administrasyon sa panganib na dala ng pagsasara ng ABS-CBN, lalo na habang patuloy ang krisis pangkalusugang dala ng COVID-19,” Robredo said.
NTC issued the order after Solicitor General Jose Calida warned on Sunday 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.