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Netizens claim some folks unaware of Typhoon Ambo due to absence of ABS-CBN

/ 11:58 PM May 15, 2020
ABS-CBN

An employee looks at an announcement of TV network ABS-CBN being shut down on his mobile phone on May 5, 2020. The Philippines’ top broadcaster ABS-CBN was forced off air on May 5 over a stalled operating license renewal, drawing fresh charges that authorities were cracking down on press freedom. (Photo by Maria TAN / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines – Some families living in towns ravaged by the typhoon, now hoisted as Severe Tropical Storm Ambo, allegedly failed to prepare as they were not aware of the news after ABS-CBN’s free television and radio broadcasts were shut down.

According to netizens on Twitter, the repercussions of the media giant’s shutdown were further revealed as some residents in the far-flung areas of Quezon and Aurora were apparently left in the dark, because only broadcasts signals from ABS-CBN can reach their homes.

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The discussions started when journalist Barnaby Lo posted a screenshot of ABS-CBN broadcaster Jeff Canoy’s story, where police officers allegedly told the latter that they hope the network company’s broadcast would resume because cellular data is intermittent in the mountains.

Several Twitter users chimed in, attesting that signal is difficult in several areas especially across mountains.  National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) chair Nonoy Espina also added that he has visited places in the country with no internet connectivity, where ABS-CBN is responsible for all information in the area.

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“Para sa mga hindi nakakaintindi… meron man mga local radio stations at nandyan man ang LGU’s, mauuna at mauuna pa rin ang balita mula sa ABS-CBN dahil sa network nila.  Sa panahon ng sakuna, timely info can spell life and death. Some people really need to check their privilege,” Lo said.

(Those who can’t understand… if ever there are local radio stations and there are the LGU’s, news from the ABS-CBN will always come first.)

“I have been to places where there is literally no other source of information on the nation and the world than ABS-CBN. I cannot imagine them left in the dark,” Espina claimed.

Another Twitter user slammed people who have been rejoicing over ABS-CBN’s shutdown, because there are people who may look at the network as a vital piece of their daily lives rather than just mere entertainment.

“It is so sad. Maaring sa iba privilege nila makanood ng TV, na kahit magsara yung isang istasyon, may iba pa silang means of getting information. Samantalang sa iba, this is a need. Lalo sa panahon ng pandemic, sa panahin ng delubyo,” he said.

(While others perceived watching TV is a privilege, that when a station is shutdown, they would always have means to get information. While for others, this is a need. Especially during the time of pandemic, during the time of deluge.)

ABS-CBN stopped its broadcasts on May 5 after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease-and-desist order (CDO), as the network’s franchise was already expired.  This was done despite NTC’s assurance to Congress that ABS-CBN would be given a provisional authority to operate until the franchise issue is ironed out.

The NTC said that the reason behind the CDO, which did not happen when other broadcasting firms’ franchises expired, was because of the questions on the validity of ABS-CBN’s franchise.  The commission did not explicitly say what questions were raised, but Solicitor General Jose Calida, who wrote to NTC before the shutdown, filed a quo warranto petition last February.

Last May 13, the House passed on second reading a bill that would give ABS-CBN an interim franchise until October 31, 2020.  While it was not enough for people who support ABS-CBN’s cause, they say that it is better than not being able to operate at all, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Latest updates from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration showed that Ambo still packs maximum sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center, and gustiness of up to 160 kph, while moving towards Bulacan.

Ambo’s eye was last seen in the area of General Nakar in Quezon province.  It is currently moving northwest at a speed of 20 kph.

While casualties have not been confirmed according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, reports came out that one resident of Eastern Samar was confirmed dead by the local government.

JPV

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, Ambo, AmboPH, CDO, cease and desist order, franchise validity, free television, House of Representatives, National Telecommunications Commission, NTC, Philippine news updates, press freedom, radio broadcasts, Severe tropical storm Ambo, Solicitor General Jose Calida, Weather, Yongfong
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