Makabayan bloc lawmakers on Friday condemned the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) recall of the radio and television frequencies assigned to ABS-CBN.
“Ang ginagawang pagkitil sa karapatang magpahayag ng isang news agency, kahit nag-iisa lang ito, ay malaking epekto sa pangkabuuang sitwasyon ng malayang pamamahayag,” Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Eufemia Cullamat said at a virtual press conference.
Carlos Zarate, also a representative of Bayan Muna, noted that there were still measures being done to restore ABS-CBN’s franchise at the time NTC recalled the frequencies.
Zarate cited the move towards a people’s initiative to grant ABS-CBN a franchise. The Makabayan bloc also appealed to the franchise application to be heard in the plenary.
“Ito ‘yung tuloy-tuloy na panggigipit at talagang gusto nang alisan hindi lang ang ABS-CBN ng boses kundi ‘yung mga umaasa pang mga mamamayan na maibalik sa ere ang ABS-CBN,” Zarate said.
Makabayan bloc condemns recall of ABS-CBN frequencies
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has removed the assigned frequencies or signals and channels from ABS-CBN Corporation, two months after they failed to get another franchise in the House of Representatives.
In a decision issued on September 9, 2020, the NTC has revoked all assigned frequencies on ABS-CBN radio and TV stations due to the lack of a “valid legislative franchise.”
“Indubitably, the denial of Respondent’s franchise renewal application by Congress, coupled with the denial of Respondent’s Petition by the Supreme Court, lead to no other conclusion except that Respondent had already lost the privilege of installing, operating, and maintaining radio broadcasting stations in the country,” the decision of the NTC said.
On July 10, House Committee on Legislative Franchises voted to deny the franchise renewal application of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.
“It is what it is — a denial of a privilege granted by the State because the applicant was seen as undeserving of the grant of a legislative franchise. By no means can this franchise application be related to press freedom. If it were so, then all applicants for legislative franchises covering mass media could simply claim such freedom and force the hand of this Committee each time,” the Committee Resolution read.