ABS-CBN shutdown divides Filipinos when pandemic fight needs unity: governor

Yasmin Pascual-Dormido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2020 03:01 PM

ABS-CBN shutdown divides Filipinos when pandemic fight needs unity: governor 1
ABS-CBN employees wearing protective face masks work in a control room at the broadcast network's headquarters, following orders by the country's telecoms regulator to cease its operations in Quezon City, May 6, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters 

MANILA - Government's halt order against broadcast operations of ABS-CBN Corp. is dividing Filipinos who need unity to beat the coronavirus pandemic, a governor said Thursday as he called on lawmakers to tackle the stalled franchise renewal of the country's top broadcaster. 

The National Telecommunications Commission "did not keep its word" when it ordered ABS-CBN to stop broadcasting on Tuesday, a day after its franchise expired, said Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson. 

The NTC had earlier said it would give the network provisional authority to operate even after its franchise expires while Congress has yet to tackle several bills seeking its license renewal. 

"It’s (shutdown) really not good especially that ABS-CBN has been very instrumental in giving information and right now, it’s actually dividing the nation instead of being focused on the fight on COVID," Lacson told reporters, referring to the coronavirus disease, which has infected over 10,000 in the country. 

Lawmakers "have to start taking up this issue on whether to renew" the franchise, he said. 

Lacson, in the same press briefing, said he wanted to extend the general community quarantine for another 2 weeks from May 15. 

Negros Occidental has so far confirmed 6 cases of COVID-19. 

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