Civil service commissioner underscores gov't officials' role after NTC orders ABS-CBN shutdown

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2020 04:26 PM

MANILA — Civil Service Commissioner Aileen Lizada on Thursday underscored the role of public servants as she said she was "curious" about the National Telecommunications Commission's (NTC) order stopping broadcast operations of ABS-CBN Corp.

The outspoken CSC commissioner noted that other government agencies adjusted their policies because of the COVID-19 lockdown, such as the extension of the filing of income tax returns by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the extended validity of expiring driver’s licenses by the Land Transportation Office, and moved deadlines for the submission of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

While citing government efforts to address the effects of COVID-19, Lizada stressed that Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees states that government officials “shall enter public service with utmost devotion and dedication to duty.”

“Let us put to heart that we, as public servants, are also in the service of the Filipino people,” Lizada said in a statement, using the tagline of the Kapamilya network.

Lizada noted that the NTC commissioners could have weighed their options using the “scales of equity” and “humanitarian conditions” especially since other companies were given consideration past the expiry of their franchises.

She added that during these times, ABS-CBN is one of the valuable companies that provide information to the public on how to combat the deadly coronavirus disease.

Lizada also underscored the provision in RA No. 6713 that public officials and employees should “uphold public interest over personal interest,” among others.

“One cannot help but be curious of the action taken by the NTC when it did not allow by toleration the continued operation of ABS-CBN despite the expiration of its franchise, when in fact in the past it appears that more or less 8 media organizations were still allowed to operate despite having expired franchises pending the renewal of their respective franchises,” Lizada said. 

While Lizada's statement was written using the letterhead of the CSC, it apparently does not reflect the sentiments of the three-person commission led by Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala.