Natakot kay Calida! NTC issues 'cease and desist' order against ABS-CBN

Photo courtesy of GMA and Philstar

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has finally ordered ABS-CBN Corp. to stop airing on Tuesday, and formally issued a “Cease and Desist Order” against embattled network giant.

In a statement, the National Telecommunications Commission ordered the broadcast giant to “cease and desist” operations after Republic Act No. 7966, which granted the network a 25-year license to operate, expired last May 4, 2020.

Many was surprised about the recent order of NTC, which seems to came out after Solicitor General Jose Calida's threat to NTC Officials last Sunday.

Recently, Calida gave a warning to NTC official that they will face charges if they will still issue a provitional authority to operate to ABS-CBN a day after its congressional franchise expired.

Because of this, around 11,000 employees is at risk to lose their jobs from the country's biggest network as millions of Filipinos get displaced by the health crisis due to corona virus.

In an order dated May 5, 2020, the NTC ordered the Kapamilya network “to stop operating” its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide “absent a valid Congressional Franchise as required by law.”

ABS-CBN was given ten days from receipt of order to explain why its frequencies “should not be recalled for lack of the necessary Congressional Franchise.

Republic Act No. 7966 which granted ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise to operate TV and radio broadcasting stations expired on last Monday, May 4.

Last March, NTC chief Gamaliel Cordoba gave an assurance to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and House committee on legislative franchises chair Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez to grant provisional authoriry to operate effective starting May 4 upon the advice of Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra. 

However both Calida and lawyer Larry Gadon have threatened to file charges NTC Cordoba and other NTC officials for graft if they decide to grant such provisional authority to the media conglomerate owned by the Lopezes.

But Alvarez also announced on Tuesday that he will hold Cordoba and other NTC officials in contempt if they yield to the pressure being imposed by Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)against the issuing of provisional authority to operate to ABS-CBN.

Calida and Gadon’s earlier threat seems to win since NTC did not keep their words to Cayetano and the Palawan congressman, thus, issued the cease and desist order to Kapamilya network. 

Under Radio Control Law (Republic Act No. 3846), as amended, “(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 NTC said that ABS-CBN no longer has a valid after the expiration of RA 7966,  and subsisting congressional franchise as required by Act No. 3846.

The agency also added that its Regional Offices shall implement the closure order in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

After receiving ABS-CBN’s response, the NTC shall schedule a hearing of the case at the earliest time after the Enhanced Community Quarantine is lifted by the Government.

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