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The NTC reacts to KBP’s call for ABS-CBN to reapply for a new franchise

ABS-CBN’s current content can be viewed through YouTube, the iWant app, and cable TV.

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodcaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) has advised ABS-CBN to apply once more for a congressional franchise in order to save their frequencies that have been recalled by the National Telecommunications Commission.

“I hope ABS is considering reapplying again for another franchise para lang mahabol na makakuha ng tsansa na maka-partake o makuha nila frequencies nila,” KBP chairman Herman Basbaño said.

“We know that there has to be a process pero kung kaya naman at interesado talaga ang ABS, puwede naman nating balikan ‘yan at apply franchise again and submit intent to NTC kasi sa kanila naman ito,” he added.

In a September 9 memorandum, the NTC stated that the recall of the frequencies was due to the media giant’s failure to secure a franchise, saying that it already “lost the privilege of installing, operating, and maintaining radio broadcasting stations in the country.”

“Indubitably, the denial of Respondent’s franchise renewal application by Congress, coupled with the denial of Respondent’s Petition by the Supreme Court, lead to no other conclusion except that Respondent had already lost the privilege of installing, operating, and maintaining radio broadcasting stations in the country,”

“Consequentially, absent a valid legislative franchise, the recall of the frequencies assigned to Respondent is warranted,” the NTC said.

Basbano also said that ABS-CBN will no longer have any frequencies even if it were granted a new franchise because other applicants would have them.

“Kung mauubos po ‘yung frequency sa dami ng aplikante, ang mangyayari pipila rin kayo sa pag-apply. So tama po ‘yung sinasabi niyo na maaaring wala na kayong frequency after 2 years,” Basbano said.

The NTC’s order covered all frequencies assigned to ABS-CBN which include the CH2 frequency, DZMM 630 and MOR 101.9 (DWRR-FM).

On Tuesday, the NTC said that the media giant is allowed to apply for frequencies and channels but only if it has secured a legislative franchise to operate a free-to-air broadcast network.

“If may bago silang franchise, they can apply po. It’s possible they can apply when they get a new franchise,” NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said during the House of Representatives’ budget deliberation for the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) proposed P46-billion budget for 2021.

ABS-CBN stopped operations on May 5 after the NTC issued a cease and desist order against the company.

Before the shutdown, the NTC promised the house of Representatives in March that ABS-CBN will be given a provisional authority to continue operations while their application for a franchise was pending.

The NTC also ordered ABS-CBN last June 30 to stop operations of its digital TV transmission in Metro Manila using Channel 43.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchise decided that ABS-CBN doesn’t deserve a new franchise and denied the network’s application, forcing it to downsize operations.

70 lawmakers voted YES to deny the media giant a franchise and only 11 voted no.

The bills for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal have been in Congress awaiting action since 2014 but the House only worked on it after 6 years.

The Supreme Court also did not grant ABS-CBN’s wish to issue a TRO against the NTC’s cease and desist order.

ABS-CBN’s current content can be viewed through YouTube, the iWant app, and cable TV.

Written by Charles Teves

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