Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

MANILA — The statement released by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) regarding the franchise issue of embattled media network ABS-CBN Corp. is not an official stance of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson (OPS).

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the clarification after the NTF ELCAC commented on the ABS-CBN’s shutdown.

The NTF ELCAC, in a Facebook post, cited several reasons as to why ABS-CBN had to cease its broadcast operations on Tuesday.

It also blamed the ABS-CBN over the closure of its television and radio stations nationwide, leaving its 11,000 workers unemployed.

“Ang istasyong ABS-CBN mismo ang dahilan kung bakit nawalan ng trabaho at kinabukasan ang libu-libo nilang empleyado (Thousands of ABS-CBN workers lose their jobs because of the station),” it said.

The NTF-ELCAC also argued that ABS-CBN failed to resolve the issues hounding the renewal of its 25-year congressional franchise which already expired on May 4.

It said the granting of the media network’s new franchise was not approved because of unsettled legal issues.

“Ang request of franchise renewal ng istasyon ay disapproved, dahil sa legal issues na kanilang kinaharap sa nakalipas na mga taon. Ngunit, hindi ito inayos o ginawan ng paraan ng istasyon upang ituwid (The station’s request of franchise renewal was disapproved because of the legal issues raised years ago. The station did not settle the issue),” the NTF ELCAC said.

Screenshots of NTF ELCAC’s statement being shared by PCOO on its official Facebook page went viral on social media.

Andanar, in a press statement, said the PCOO’s resharing of a posted content by NTF ELCAC on its Facebook page regarding the legal situation of ABS-CBN Corporation’s broadcast license ”was done without the usual vetting process of our office.”

”That being said, the posted content is not in any way an official statement or an opinion of the PCOO. The issue regarding ABS-CBN Corporation’s network franchise remains within the purview of Congress,” Andanar said.

Roque also reacted to the NTF ELCAC’s comment, saying his office does not share the same view.

”We wish to clarify that the above posts did not come from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson and the NTF Stratcomms which is headed by the OPS. Hence, not the official statement of our Office,” he said.

ABS-CBN’s broadcast operations halted Tuesday following the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) issuance of cease and desist order against the local media giant.

The NTC ordered the closure of ABS-CBN’s television and radio broadcasting stations following the expiration of the station’s franchise on May 4.

ABS-CBN on Thursday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to nullify NTC’s cease and desist order which “violates the right of the public to information and curtail freedom of speech, as well as cause serious and irreparable damage on ABS-CBN and thousands of its employees if its implementation is not halted.” (IA/PNA)

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