Just two days after the World Press Freedom Day, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against broadcast company ABS-CBN as its legislative franchise lapsed.
The NTC ordered the media giant to halt its TV and radio broadcast operations a day after their 25-year license to operate expired last May 4.
The NTC is the sole agency responsible for regulating and supervising radio and television broadcast stations.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the order “is immediately executory” but can be raised for judicial review to the regional trial court or the Court of Appeals.
In a statement released on Tuesday night, the network said that it will go off air in compliance with NTC’s order.
“Despite Senate Resolution No. 40, the House of Representatives’ committee on legislative franchises’ letter, the guidance of the Department of Justice and the sworn statement of NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, the NTC did not grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate while its franchise renewal remains pending in Congress,” it said.
The statement also highlighted that the network trusts the government to decide with the best interest of the Filipino people in mind.
“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,” it stated.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic ABS-CBN, the statement said, has been providing comprehensive news coverage on the public health crisis while working with local governments and the private sector through their “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” campaign.
Their donation drive has reportedly gathered over P300 million worth of good for the benefit of 600,000 families affected by the community quarantine.
On Tuesday night, after its evening newscast TV Patrol, ABS-CBN officially signed off after 65 years of broadcasting service.