Senate asks NTC to reconsider ABS-CBN shutdown

On May 5th, the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN. It was issued on the basis of the expiration of its congressional franchise. The order effectively shut down the country’s largest TV network.

In response, the Philippine Senate passed Resolution No. 395, which asks the NTC to reconsider the cease and desist order issued against ABS-CBN. 

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(Coco Martin enraged over ABS-CBN shutdown: “Tinatarantado ninyo ang mga pilipino!”)

“There is a specific message I want to express today. We are in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic. Libo-libo ang nasasawi dahil sa isang virus na kahit ang health experts ay hindi pa lubusang nauunawaan. Milyon-milyon ang naggugutom. Milyon-milyon ang nawawalan ng trabaho at wala pang kasiguraduhan kung ano ang mangyayari sa mga susunod na araw o linggo,” Senator Risa Hontiveros, principal author of the resolution, said in her sponsorship speech.

[There is a specific message I want to express today. We are in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic. There are thousands who are dying because of the virus that even health experts cannot completely comprehend what is happening. Millions are going hungry. Millions of workers are also being displaced and there is no assurance of what may happen the next day or week.]

“Kaalaman ang pinakamahalaga nating sandata upang labanan ito [Knowledge is our most effective weapon to fight this]. Access to accurate and up-to-date information is absolutely crucial in ensuring that the public is a partner in health-enhancing community measures,” she continued. 

Hontiveros, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Leila de Lima, Lito Lapid, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, and Joel Villanueva signed the resolution.

Senator Richard Gordon also voted in favor of the resolution but was not a signatory. 

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Francis Tolentino, Senator Cynthia Villar, Senator Imee Marcos, Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, Senator Bong Go, Senator Bong Revilla, and Senator Pia Cayetano abstained from voting. 

Cayetano was initially a signatory of the resolution but later on withdrew her signature. 

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