The entire country was left in shock after ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, one of the biggest network in the Philippines, was forced to go off air on Tuesday, May 5. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order for the network due to alleged breach of contract, as the pay-per-view services offered by the network—like the Kapamilya Box Office (KBO)—is not part of their franchise contract.
The forced shutdown of the network was met with criticisms and comparisons, as the last time the network giant was forced to cease operations was when dictator Ferdinand Marcos implement Martial Law in the country in 1972. T
The public, especially those who work in the field and are communication students or graduates, said that this was a clear attack on freedom of speech.
But it wasn’t only the media and communication people who were highly critical of the move by NTC. Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, Archbishop of Davao and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said that they denounce the shutdown of the network.
“Because of the closure of this broadcast station, our people have lost one of our country’s major sources of information which is crucial to our people in this present situation,” he said. “These days our people truly need more than ever broadcast services that would bring them the much-needed information in this time of crisis.”
The archbishop says they are hoping and praying that the network’s operations go back to normal soon and that they go on air once again, as the Filipino people need additional sources of reliable information “in this time of suffering and distress.”
Due to the shutdown, 11,000 employees are at risk of losing their jobs. However, ABS-CBN says they will be doing whatever it can to get the network back on air.