26 September 2023

PHILIPPINES: PS questions broadcast shutdown

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The Philippines Civil Service Commissioner, Aileen Lizada (pictured) has stuck her head above the parapet to question the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) order shutting down the operations of ABS-CBN Corporation, the country’s largest broadcaster.

The shutdown of ABS-CBN comes after the renewal of their licence had been pending in Congress, which is controlled by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The hearings were delayed due to the pandemic.

In addition to ABS-CBN, the country’s leading newspaper,Philippine Daily Inquirer and the online news organisation, Rappler have been attacked for being critical of Mr Duterte.

The outspoken Ms Lizada said other Government Agencies had been allowed to adjust their policies because of the COVID-19 lockdown, such as the extension of the filing of income tax returns by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

“The NTC Commissioners could have weighed their options using the scales of equity and humanitarian conditions, especially since other companies are given consideration past the expiry of their franchises,” Ms Lizada said.

“ABS-CBN is one of the valuable companies that provide information to the public on how to combat the deadly Coronavirus disease.”

“One cannot help but be curious of the action taken by the NTC…when in the past it appears that more or less eight media organisations were still allowed to operate pending the renewal of their respective franchises,” she said.

Sources said Ms Lizada made her statement without the permission of the Commission’s three-person board headed by Chair, Alicia dela Rosa-Bala.

Manila, 9 May 2020

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