NTC recalls all frequencies assigned to ABS-CBN Corp.

File photo: An employee lights candles in front of the headquarters of broadcast network ABS-CBN on May 5, 2020, in Quezon City.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered the recall of all frequencies previously assigned to former television giant ABS-CBN Corp., as it already “lost the privilege of installing, operating, and maintaining radio broadcasting stations.”

Frequencies that are now being recalled were used for five AM radio stations, 18 FM radio stations, 43 TV stations, and 10 digital TV stations. These stations were placed in different parts of the country, previously serving both national and regional audiences.

According to the order, the recall is necessary as ABS-CBN failed to secure a valid congressional franchise. It added that the Supreme Court denied the plea of ABS-CBN for a relief.

“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 order read.

Congress earlier this year denied the renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN, putting at risk the livelihood of thousands of the network’s employees.

Aside from massive layoffs, including company veterans, the closure of the broadcasting business of ABS-CBN led to the closure of other businesses, including retail.

Today, ABS-CBN streams its content via social-media sites and app-based video streaming platforms. It has yet to report the actual financial impact of the broadcast closure.

Aside from the recall of frequencies, the NTC likewise ordered the revocation or cancellation of all provision authorities and certificates of public convenience granted to ABS-CBN. Its pending applications and petitions are also now dismissed and denied.

The company’s free TV and radio broadcast went off air last May 5 after the NTC issued a cease and desist order against the network following the expiration of its legislative franchise last May 4.

After 12 hearings, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises rejected the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corp. on July 10.

The committee adopted a resolution—based on the work of a hastily formed technical working group (TWG)—denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corp. to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines.

Citing several violations embodied in six segments of the TWG report, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises rejected the 25-year franchise application of the Lopez-led network.

Image credits: AP/Aaron Favila


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