US government nababahala! nag-labas din ng pahayag tungkol sa pagsasara ng ABS-CBN

Photo courtesy of  The Straits Times and ABS-CBN

Days ago, the biggest television network in the country was given a cease and desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), surprising everyone of its untimely closure amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Many were surprised of the sudden decision of the NTC, which left everyone shocked especially the network's viewers.

People from different sectors were debating over what happened to the kapamilya network, pointing fingers on who to blame.

This issue has drew attention not only all over the country but also in the international scene.

Even the US government has shared their concern over the government-ordered shutdown of the country’s largest network, which President Rodrigo Duterte has been attacking since he assumed office.

“We are concerned by the situation regarding ABS-CBN,” said the State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

“An independent media plays a critical role in facilitating the open exchange of information and ideas which is vital to free, prosperous and secure democratic societies,” Ortagus said.

Ortagus pointed out that free media was eplays vital role in promoting information and public health issues amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is true for the United States, the Philippines, as well as countries around the world,” she added.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP) report, ABS-CBN was forced off the air over the delayed renewal of its operating license, which Duterte had repeatedly pledged to block.

The AFP said, Duterte had regularly assailed the media powerhouse, which he accuses of not airing airing his campaign ads during the 2016 presidential election despite accepting payment to do so.

The Philippines is known to be a former colony and treaty ally of the United States but tensions have increased over President Duterte’s signature war on drugs campaign in which police have killed thousands of people.

Duterte goes ballistic at any foreign criticism and even barred his cabinet from visiting the United States after the Philippines’ former police chief claimed his US visa was cancelled.

Last February, the chief executive also set in motion the process to withdraw from the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), a key part of the defense alliance.

Despite the gap between the two nations, Duterte has found an affinity with President Donald Trump, who also often times attack mainstream media.

Trump said ending the VFA agreement would save the United States money and has praised the anti-drug campaign, contrary from criticism by his predecessor Barack Obama.

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