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Without a franchise, NTC recalls frequencies given to ABS-CBN

On September 9, 2020, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) signed an order recalling all of the TV and radio frequencies assigned to ABS-CBN.

National Telecommunications Commission Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba and Deputy Commissioners Edgardo Cabarios and Delilah Deles said that without a legislative franchise, NTC has decided to recall all of the TV and radio frequencies given to ABS-CBN.

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

The recall covers nationwide free TV and radio frequencies of ABS-CBN. It includes TV Channel 2, DZMM, and MOR 101.9.

NTC noted that the network lost its ability to operate since Congress denied its franchise renewal, and the Supreme court denied the network’s petition against the cease and desist order.

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,” NTC added.

ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise expired on May 4, 2020. The network filed for franchise renewal back in 2014 but proceedings only started this March 10, 2020.

Timeline of ABS-CBN’s shutdown

On May 5, NTC filed a cease and desist order that prevented ABS-CBN from operating. It also ordered the network to explain why the radio and TV frequencies of the ABS-CBN should not be recalled without its franchise.

On May 13, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano tried to grant ABS-CBN provisional franchise until October 31, 2020. Congress shelved the proposition in favor of discussing the 25-year franchise renewal.

Then on June 30, NTC filed another cease and desist order which prevented ABS-CBN from broadcasting via digital TV using channel 43.

On July 10, the Congress voted to deny the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN with 70 representatives who voted yes, 11 who voted no, and three who abstained.

On August 31, the network suffered from P3.93 billion loss in revenue. It led to ABS-CBN’s retrenchment of its units and employees. It solidified the network’s move to digital platforms like YouTube and Facebook.


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