ABS-CBN shutdown 'a big loss' to Filipinos - Pacquiao
MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao said Thursday he hopes President Rodrigo Duterte would order the National Telecommunications Commission to allow ABS-CBN to operate beyond its lapsed franchise.
ABS-CBN halted its broadcast operations Tuesday evening after the the National Telecommunications Commission went back on its word that it would give provisional authority to the network for continued operations.
"I’m hoping, I'm praying na hipuin ng Panginoon ang Pangulo na tulungan at kausapin ang NTC na bigyan ng provisional authority to operate while the pending renewal bill is dinidinig ng lower House at Senate," Pacquiao told ANC.
"Dito sa pago-operate ng ABS-CBN, may mgagawa naman ang Pangulo. Dito sa pagsasara di naman natin pwede sisihin ang Pangulo sa naging desisyon ng NTC."
The shutdown of the country's largest broadcast company was a big loss to the Filipinos, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Pacquiao said.
"Malaking kawalan sa ating mga Pilipino. Alalahanin natin, sa ibang bansa kasi especially TFC (The Filipino Channel), lahat ng OFW laging nanonood ng TFC para 'yung lungkot nila sa ibang bansa, pag nakanood sila ng TFC parang andito sila sa Pilipinas," he said.
"'Pag ako nasa ibang bansa nagte-training, pag nanonoood ako ng TFC para akong nasa Pilipinas din."
The senator said he was surprised by the NTC's cease-and-desist order against ABS-CBN, citing other media companies that were allowed to operate as Congress deliberated on their franchise renewal.
"We don’t need division, we need unity and compassion especially in solving the pandemic problem," he said.
"Dami na nating problema...Kailangan natin ng pagtutulungan at walang mawalan ng trabaho."
The network's closure, however, should not be compared to when it was shut down by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, Pacquiao said.
"Ang pagsara ng ABS-CBN hindi dapat ikumpara sa martial law. Iba na 'yung generation natin ngayon. Kailangan lang talaga natin ng pagkakaunawaan, pagkakaisa," he said.
"I am not saying na hindi na natin i-implement 'yung law pero dapat siguro with consideration and proper implementation, not in this crisis na maraming nangangailangan ng tulong, maraming nagugutom."
Pacquiao said a joint congressional resolution has been filed at the Senate that would grant ABS-CBN a temporary franchise until June 2022. A similar measure has been filed at the House of Representatives.