The ANC Brief: Under fire


Posted at May 07 2020 05:05 AM

There are disagreements and leaps of logic in the fallout over the shutdown of ABS-CBN. Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC:

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International headlines
The shutdown of the country’s largest TV network made globalheadlines. At the Palace, 2 top officials seem to be at loggerheads on whether or not President Rodrigo Duterte can override the cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against ABS-CBN. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra was quoted as saying the President can step in. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte could not reverse the NTC’s decision. Meanwhile, the network’s flagship newscast TV Patrol will continue to air on The Filipino Channel (TFC) for the global audience.

Call for abolition
Speaking of the NTC, the agency is taking a lot of fire for issuing the cease and desist order. But it has been revealed that Solicitor General Jose Calida pressed the NTC to issue the order. NTC deputy commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said the case of ABS-CBN was “so popular” that it had to throw out precedents. What kind of reasoning is that? The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said the NTC allowed other networks in the same situation to operate while waiting for their franchise. House Minority Leader Rep. Benny Abante called for the abolition of the NTC.

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Finding its voice
Speaking of the House of Representatives, it’s also taking a lot of fire for sitting on the network’s franchise. Lawmakers Edcel Lagman and Lito Atienza said the shutdown was on House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano. Sen. Nancy Binay called on the House to “find its voice” and make the franchise happen.

'Stimulus budget'
Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Edgardo Angara said he expected the government to submit a P5 trillion budget for 2021 to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. And despite assurances from economic managers, there looks some doom and gloom ahead for the country’s economy. Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez said the deficit could balloon to up P1 trillion due to spending for the COVID-19 response and low revenue collection. Abroad, the European Union (EU) economy is bracing itself for a historic recession.

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Signing off
ABS-CBN journalists started the day covering COVID-19, but ended it with the network shutdown—and with no certainty of its return. Chiara Zambrano shares what happened inside the newsroom as its people watched the screen go black.