NTC vows to stop ABS-CBN airing of programs on Channel 43
MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) vowed on Monday to halt media giant ABS-CBN’s airing of programs on Channel 43 amid the network’s bid for 25-year franchise.
During the joint hearing of the House committee on legislative franchises and committee on good government and public accountability, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba was asked why it did not immediately stop ABS-CBN’s continued airing of programs, including on Channel 43 of the Amcara Broadcasting Network.
Cordoba said that they first sought the advice of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) after ABS-CBN raised the case to the Supreme Court, seeking a temporary restraining order against the cease and desist order issued by the NTC.
The NTC official said their office only received the advice of the OSG on Monday morning. The said advice states that the NTC “may first issue an alias cease and desist order. If and when ABS-CBN still continues to broadcast through Channel 43, the NTC may avail itself of effective means to stop such broadcast.”
Cordoba also argued that Channel 43 is covered by the CDO it earlier issued against ABS-CBN, one day after its franchise expired on May 4 which essentially stopped the media giant’s broadcast operations.
The alias CDO, Cordoba said, would reiterate the initial order issued against ABS-CBN.
But ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak argued that the CDO initially issued by the NTC did not include Channel 43.
Further, Katigbak explained that ABS-CBN only has a “block-time agreement” with Channel 43.
“Amcara Broadcasting is not owned by ABS-CBN. The reason that you continue to see our channels with TV Plus is we have a block-time arrangement with Amcara,” Katigbak said.
“A block-time arrangement is a standard commercial agreement that is quite common in the broadcasting industry. It’s not just ABS-CBN that enters into a block-time arrangement,” he added.
Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla, however, pointed out that ABS-CBN is “engaging in the usufruct of another franchise” by airing its shows on Channel 43.
“Itong block-time arrangement, ito ay palusot lang. Kasi ang nangyayari ay ginagamit pa rin nila yung public frequency to broadcast ABS-CBN content and no amount of commercial arrangement para sila ay makapag-broadcast nang legal,” Remulla said.
“They are now conducting an illegal operation for the past eight weeks, their operation has been illegal,” he added.
Later, Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor asked Cordoba if he could commit to halt the programs aired by ABS-CBN through the alias CDO, to which the NTC official responded to the affirmative.
Katigbak said ABS-CBN is “willing to submit our judgment to the regulatory agency” but appealed that they be given due process “so we have the right venue to express our position on this matter.”
“And then whatever decision the NTC comes up with, we will respect the regulatory agency,” Katigbak said.
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