National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) committed to the House of Representatives that it would order ABS-CBN Digital TV to stop airing programs through digital television receivers or TV Plus. During the continuance of the hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said the continued operations of ABS-CBN’s TV Plus is a breach of the cease and desist order (CDO) issued against the media giant.
Cordoba said ABS-CBN’s TV Plus should also have stopped when it went off the air following the expiration of its legislative franchise last May 4.
“They [ABS-CBN] should not be doing that because ABS-CBN’s franchise has already expired. At the airing of programs through digital broadcast is also wrong. That is a violation of the CDO that we issued,” Cordoba said.
“ABS-CBN’s airing of digital TV on Channel 43 is part of the cease and desist order because the franchise that they used for that is ABS-CBN’s franchise.”
“The reason we continue to see our channels on TV plus is we have a block time arrangement with Amcara [Channel 43]. A block time arrangement is a standard commercial arrangement where a company is allowed to buy airtime from a duly licensed broadcaster,” President and CEO Carlo Katigbak said.
In the past, he said the NTC has allowed other broadcast companies—whose franchises have expired but their application for renewal is pending in Congress—to continue their services until such time that the franchise application is either approved or rejected.
“We would like permission to ask for the same privilege to be extended to ABS-CBN in the spirit of fairness,” Katigbak said.
“Of course, we are willing to submit our judgment to the regulatory agency. And then whatever decision the NTC comes up with, we will respect the regulatory agency.”
“Between TV Plus and Sky, there are about 11 million homes that have access to our service. ‘Pag pinutulan po natin ’yan [if it is cut off], that’s about 55 million people that will lose access to news and information.”
“It is a violation of our constitutional mandate that we are the only ones [with the power] to grant franchises,” Defensor said.
Deputy Majority Leader Boying Remulla said TV Plus should have stopped operations because the legislative franchise granted by Congress to the network already lapsed.
With this, Remulla said they have a “ripe case” against Cordoba before the Office of Ombudsman for “willfully disobeying the power of Congress to issue franchises and allowing an entity to operate without a franchise and earn money at the same time.”
ABS-CBN Corporation is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange as $ABS and as of June 29, 2020, 03:30:00 PM its’ last traded at PHP 15.10 -%1.18 lower than its previous close with 2.43M value day traded.
-Stockbytes PH, June 29, 2020
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