TELEVISION network ABS-CBN went off the air Tuesday evening, May 5, in compliance with the cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
Before going off the air, ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak reiterated that they did not violate any law and have complied with all the requirements to support the network’s application for the renewal of its franchise.
“Ginawa na po namin ang lagat ng requirement para sa renewal at wala rin po kaming nilabag na batas. Pati po ang Kongreso, na ayon sa batas ay may kapangyarihan na mag-utos sa NTC na magbigay ng provisional authority sa TV at radio stations, ay nagsabi po na bigyan na muna ang ABS-CBN ng provisional authority,” he said in a message broadcast Tuesday evening.
(We have complied with all the requirements for the renewal of our franchise and we did not violate any law. Even Congress, which by law has the power to direct the NTC to issue a provisional authority to TV and radio stations, called for the issuance of a provisional authority to ABS-CBN.)
He sought public support against the closure order.
“Ipadama, isaad at ipadinig po natin ang ating nararamdaman sa pagsasara ng ating ABS-CBN. Sa oras pong ito, kami naman po ang humihingi ng inyong pagdamay,” he said.
Katigbak said over a million workers will lose their jobs with the closure of the television network while millions of other Filipinos will “lose their source of news and entertainment” during this public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
The NTC, in an order issued May 5, 2020, directed the ABS-CBN to immediately cease broadcast operations.
Read: ABS-CBN ordered to stop operations
The order was issued a day after the television network’s 25-year legislative franchise expired.
Bills seeking to approve ABS-CBN’s application for renewal of its franchise are still pending before the House committee on legislative franchises.
The committee, however, began to accept position papers related to the application in February 2020.
In its statement issued Tuesday evening, ABS-CBN said, “We trust that the government will decide on our franchise with the best interest of the Filipino people in mind, recognizing ABS-CBN’s role and efforts in providing the latest news and information during these challenging times.”
On March 10, 2020, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba assured committee members that ABS-CBN would be allowed to continue operations while Congress deliberates on the bills.
On May 3, 2020, however, the Office of the Solicitor General warned NTC officials that they may face graft and corruption charges if they grant ABS-CBN Corp. and its affiliates a provisional authority to operate. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)