NTC orders ABS-CBN to cease operations due to expired franchise

06-May-2020 Intellasia | UNTV News | 10:19 AM Print This Post

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on Tuesday ordered the ABS-CBN network to cease broadcasting operations due to the expiration of its legislative franchise.

In an order dated May 5, 2020, the NTC directed ABS-CBN to stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide “absent a valid congressional franchise as required by law.”

“Republic Act No. 7966 which granted ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise to operate TV and radio broadcasting stations expired on May 4, 2020,” the NTC said in a statement.

“Upon the expiration of RA 7966, ABS-CBN no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise as required by Act No. 3846,” it added.

The Radio Control Law, Act No. 3846, as amended, provided that “(n)o person, firm, company, association, or corporation shall construct, install, establish, or operate a radio transmitting station, or a 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.”

The cease-and-desist order was issued days after the Office of the Solicitor general warned of slapping charges against the NTC should it issue provisional authority allowing ABS-CBN to operate after its franchise expired on May 4.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that in the absence of a legislative franchise, the decision on the continued operation of the broadcasting network would depend on the NTC.

The House of Representatives committee on legislative franchises in February, in a letter signed by panel chair Franz Alvarez and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, formally requested the NTC to grant a provisional authority allowing the company to operate beyond its franchise expiry.

In its order, the NTC directed the ABS-CBN to respond in 10 days from receipt of the order as to why the frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled.

The agency said its regional offices shall carry out the closure order in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

“After receipt of ABS-CBN’s response, the NTC shall schedule the case for hearing at the earliest time after the enhanced community quarantine is lifted by the government,” it said.



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