Labor group: NTC’s shutdown order vs ABS-CBN affects workers, frontliners too
MANILA, Philippines – Aside from its negative effect on press freedom, a labor group believes that the cease and desist order by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against ABS-CBN’s broadcast sites has an effect on its workers’ livelihood.
According to Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), the decision of the NTC to stop ABS-CBN’s free television and radio broadcasts amid the COVID-19 pandemic is dangerous for workers and frontliners, as timely information about the disease can be accessed through their news sites.
“Ang kautusan ng NTC para itigil ng ABS-CBN ang operasyon nito ay atake sa kalayaan sa pamamahayag. Ito ay peligroso sa panahon ng pandemyang COVID19 kung saan lubos na kailangan ng mga Pilipino ang impormasyon para sa kanilang kaligtasan, kalusugan, at karapatan,” BMP chair Leody de Guzman said in a statement.
“Banta rin ito sa trabaho ng mga manggagawa ng ABS-CBN – na mga frontliner sa paghahatid ng balita at public service sa mamamayan,” he added.
During a Senate hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise last February, it was revealed that around 11,000 workers would be affected should the franchise expire.
Earlier, NTC released the order after their legislative franchise expired on Monday, May 4. This was despite the House of Representatives’ request for the body to grant a provisional franchise to the network.
House leaders deferred discussing the franchise issue, vowing to do it after the recess for the Lenten Season.
NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that the cease and desist order stemmed from questions on the validity of the network’s franchise. Cabarios however did not mention what kind of questions were raised, but Solicitor General Jose Calida previously filed a quo warranto petition against the network for supposedly using a corporate veil in hiding foreign ownership.
ABS-CBN has been on the receiving end of criticism from President Rodrigo Duterte for their alleged biased coverage of him, and for failing to air his advertisements in the 2016 Presidential elections. Previously, Duterte said that he would see to it that the network is shut down.
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