MANILA, Philippines — Media giant ABS-CBN said its assigned frequencies should not be recalled by the government given recent moves by lawmakers to extend its broadcast franchise, which expired last May 4.
ABS-CBN has also asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to suspend proceedings to take back frequencies given its pending franchise bills and a separate filing before the Supreme Court assailing the NTC’s cease and desist order last May 5.
The media giant shuttered its television and radio broadcast operations the same day the NTC order was issued. The NTC also told ABS-CBN to explain why its frequencies should not be recalled by the government given that its franchise had expired.
Frequencies are essential assets responsible for carrying data such as TV signals from a broadcast station to one’s home.
“The recall of ABS-CBN’s frequencies at this time would serve no useful purpose, in light of the forthcoming grant of a franchise and the pendency of a case with similar issues before the Supreme Court,” ABS-CBN said in its May 15 response to the NTC.
“In fact, the recall could only be detrimental to the public interest as it would hamper the ability of ABS-CBN to immediately resume serving the public through its broadcasts, once the franchise is granted,” it added.
ABS-CBN pointed to the May 13, 2020 filing of House Bill No. 6732 seeking to grant the company a franchise until October 31 this year. There are also nearly a dozen franchise extension bills pending before the House of Representatives.
In its filing to the NTC, ABS-CBN argued that the recall of its frequencies would be a “useless and costly exercise, in contravention of the intent and desire of Congress.”
ABS-CBN said its broadcasts now reach more than 70 percent of Filipinos. The company added that it had complied with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.
“There is no reason, therefore, to precipitately recall the frequencies at the expense of ABS-CBN and worse, to the determiner of the viewer,” the company said.
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