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BREAKING: NTC orders ABS-CBN to stop broadcast operations

By: Neil Arwin Mercado - Inquirer.net | May 05,2020 - 05:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday issued a Cease and Desist Order against ABS-CBN after its legislative franchise expired on May 4.

In an Order dated May 5, the NTC directed ABS-CBN to stop operating its television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide “absent a valid Congressional Franchise required by law.”

NTC cited Republic Act No. 3846 or the Radio Control Law which states that “no person, firm, company, association, or corporation shall construct, install, establish, or operate a radio transmitting station, or radio receiving station used for commercial purposes, or a radio broadcasting station, without having first obtained a franchise therefor from the Congress of the Philippines.”

Thus, with the expiration of the Republic Act. No 7966, which granted ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise to operate its TV and radio broadcasting stations, NTC said that ABS-CBN “no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise as required by Act No. 3846.

“The NTC Regional Offices shall implement the closure order in their respective areas of jurisdiction,” NTC said in a statement.

The order likewise gives ABS-CBN en days from the receipt of the Order to respond as to why the frequencies assigned to the network should not be recalled.

“After receipt of ABS-CBN’s response, the NTC shall schedule the case for hearing at the earls time after he Enhanced Community Quarantine is lifted by the Government,” NTC said.

The 11 bills seeking the renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN remain pending before the House committee on legislative franchises, the earliest of which, at least in the 18th Congress, was filed in July 2019.

So far, the committee on legislative franchises has only held one hearing—or meeting—to discuss the matter. But during this meeting, no one from ABS-CBN or from the opposition was invited.

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