MANILA – A total of 13 senators on Thursday filed a resolution, urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to reconsider its cease-and-desist order (CDO) against ABS-CBN Corp. and to allow the broadcast network, as well as its subsidiaries and affiliate, to continue operations pending the disposition of its franchise renewal.
In Senate Resolution No. 395, the senators cited precedents for entities whose franchises have expired but were allowed to continue to operate, pending the grant of franchise renewal by Congress.
Among them were the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Broadcast, Globe lnnove’s and PT&T.
The senators also cited NTCs Memorandum Order 03-03-2020 as another demonstration of the agency’s “liberality.”
The MO states that “(a)ll existing permits certificates and licenses, including radio operator certificates, to operate radio communications equipment, networks, and facilities, government or private, in various radio services… issued by the National Telecommunications Commission, expiring within March 15, 2020, to April 14, 2020, or during the Enhanced Community Quarantine Period shall continue to be valid sixty (60) days after the end of the government-imposed quarantine period.”
“This suggests that there is enough basis in policy and in practice to allow ABS-CBN Corporation and its subsidiaries and/or affiliates to continue their operations pending the renewal of their respective franchises,” the senators said.
They also said the CDO against ABS-CBN will impact on 13,000 of its workers, creating joblessness that “could not be more ill-timed” given the looming economic recession caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
SR 395 was signed by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, and Senators Risa Hontiveros, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Lito Lapid, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Joel Villanueva, and Leila de Lima. (ia/PNA)