Shuttered ABS-CBN to continue helping Filipinos during pandemic

Henry Atuelan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2020 11:52 AM | Updated as of May 06 2020 12:00 PM

Shuttered ABS-CBN to continue helping Filipinos during pandemic 1
An elderly couple share their memories about watching ABS-CBN over the years moments before the network giant signed off on May 5, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - ABS-CBN Corp. said Wednesday it would continue helping Filipinos cope with the coronavirus pandemic even after regulators shuttered its broadcast operations over its stalled franchise renewal. 

The country's top broadcaster has given food packs to some 700,000 families in 17 areas in Metro Manila and several barangays in neighboring Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan provinces, said ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya operations manager Earl Bacbac. 

"Kami po sa Sagip Kapamilya ay committed pa rin pong maghatid ng tulong na ipinagkatiwala po sa atin ng ating mga kababayan," he said. 

(Sagip Kapamilya is still committed to deliver aid that our compatriots entrusted to us.) 

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque earlier Wednesday thanked ABS-CBN for "the help that you extended, not only in disseminating information, but the relief assistance that you have extended to our people." 

The media and internet giant's 25-year license to operate expired Monday while bills for its renewal, some filed in 2016, languished in Congress. 

Lawmakers earlier urged the National Telecommunications Commission to allow the media and internet giant to operate provisionally beyond May 4 and officials previously gave the assurance that ABS-CBN would get a provisional permit. 

However, the NTC's cease-and-desist order on Tuesday cited the franchise expiration and said the outfit's operators would have to appeal for a return to the airwaves. 

The only body that can grant ABS-CBN's franchise is Congress, which is in session, said Roque. 

"The remedy, really, is ask Congress for that franchise. It's been pending since I was a congressman there during the 17th Congress. Perhaps they've had more than enough time to study the matter," he said. 

"Act on it. Vote according to your conscience. You have time to do it," he added.