Jun 30, 2020

National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba told a joint House panel that they are planning to shut down ABS-CBN’s broadcast on its TVplus service and on Channel 43 owned by affiliate Amcara Broadcasting Network.

ABS-CBN was issued a cease and desist order (CDO) last May 5 to stop all its radio and TV operations due to an alleged non-renewal of franchise among other reasons. However, the media giant continues to air some of its shows and newscasts on cable and satellite TV channels not covered by the 25-year franchise agreement.

The TVplus service and Channel 43 broadcasts free-to-air channels and ABS-CBN’s pay-per-view movie service including prime time series like “Ang Probinsyano” and newscast “TV Patrol.” Cordoba argued that ABS-CBN’s broadcasting on Channel 43 was already included in their May 5 CDO.

Cordoba sought guidance from the OSG before deciding to file this suit against ABS-CBN. “We wanted to be more prudent, so we asked for guidance from the [Office of the Solicitor General] OSG, and we received their guidance only this morning. The OSG said we were right, it was covered, and we could issue an alias cease-and-desist order,” he said. 

[READ: Is the ABS-CBN shutdown unconstitutional?]

Lawmakers berated Cordoba for not acting fast enough. Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla said that Cordoba should be sued in the Office of the Ombudsman for allowing ABS-CBN to continue its operations on TVplus and Channel 43 despite the earlier CDO.


Appeal for due process

ABS-CBN President Carlo Katigbak appealed to the NTC for due process upon hearing of their plans, stating that this decision may affect millions of households relying on TVplus Services and Sky Cable subscriptions.

[READ: ABS-CBN is not completely gone: here are its platforms which remain operational]

“’Yung hinihingi po lang namin is to make sure that we are given due process, so we have the right venue to express our position on this matter. And then whatever decision the NTC comes up with, we will respect the regulatory agency,” Katigbak said.

Katigbak clarified that ABS-CBN did not own Amcara Broadcasting Network, therefore it was not included in the CDO. “Amcara is not owned by ABS-CBN. We don’t have any ownership in Amcara today. The reason you’re going to see is we have a block-time arrangement with Amcara,” he said.

According to Katigbak, almost 55 million households will lose access to ABS-CBN’s entertainment and newscasts. ABS-CBN TVplus has sold over nine million boxes across the country. This also included INFOplus, a public service feature that broadcasts real time alerts on weather, traffic, and news updates.



Header photo courtesy of Inquirer.net

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TAGS: ABS-CBN Ang Probinsyano cease and desist order national telecommunications commission