ABS-CBN ‘grateful, humbled’ by Duterte’s acceptance of apology
Robie de Guzman • February 27, 2020 • 629
MANILA, Philippines – Broadcast network ABS-CBN Corporation on Thursday said it was “grateful and humbled” by President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of its apology.
On Wednesday, Duterte accepted the apology of the network’s president and CEO Carlo Katigbak, and assured he will not interfere in the company’s application for franchise renewal to Congress.
“We are grateful and humbled by President Rodrigo Duterte’s acceptance of our apology,” the ABS-CBN said in a statement.
“ABS-CBN remains committed to becoming a better organization and to continue to provide more meaningful service to Filipinos,” it added.
Katigbak, during a Senate hearing on Monday, apologized to the president over the network’s failure to air his P2.6 million worth of political advertisements during the 2016 presidential elections, as well as the airing of former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s political ad against Duterte.
Duterte also said that instead of giving him refund, the ABS-CBN should just donate the amount of his unaired campaign advertisements to charity.
“We will coordinate with the President’s office as it relates to his guidance on donating the refund to a charitable institution,” the network said in response.
Duterte earlier said he will “leave to Congress” the issue on the network’s franchise renewal, and that he has not decided yet whether to sign into law the bill granting ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year license to operate.
MANILA, Philippines – The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has expressed support on a proposed measure seeking the non-expiration of franchises with renewal applications pending in Congress.
Senate Bill Number 1530 filed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon aims to include franchise in Book 7 Chapter 3 Section 18 of the Administrative Code of the Philippines which states that an existing license of a licensee who has made a timely and sufficient renewal application shall not expire until the application has been finally determined.
During the Committee hearing on Thursday (May 27), the NTC said the measure will fill in the gap in the law, noting that it is following Republic Act 3846 or the ‘Radio Control Law’ which provides that no person or firm can operate a radio station without having first obtained a congressional franchise.
“Malaking bagay po ito para po ma-fix ang gap sa batas para po kapag may pending matters ay ito po ay mai-consider na buhay pa [This will help fill the gap in the law to consider a franchise as valid while matters are pending],” explained NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba.
However, the Commission said that it never issued provisional franchises to stations with expired franchises but with pending renewal applications in Congress and just allowed them to continue operating.
Cordoba said what makes the case of ABS-CBN different from others that they had to issue a cease and desist order, was the quo warranto petition filed against the media giant.
He added that they have issued such orders before but only to radio stations who illegally operated during the 2019 elections.
“The difference from those instances on the ABS-CBN issue is that (with) ABS-CBN, a case for quo warranto was actually filed by the solicitor general. Kaya po medyo naging [That’s why it became] untenable on our part to let it continue because of the clear letter of the law in the Republic Act 3846,” Cordoba said.
However, Senator Drilon believes there has been an inconsistency on the part of the NTC in exercising its power in issuing cease and desist orders.
“At the very least, it appears that there is an inconsistency in exercising power (inaudible) in equal protection of the law,” the Senate Minority leader said.
“This is precisely a remedial legislation that we have introduced so that this kind of gap can be addressed,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminds the public to heed government protocols for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis even after community quarantine has been relaxed.
On May 16, Metro Manila shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine to help revive the Philippines’ crippled economy.
But President Duterte stressed that such relaxation in restrictions doesn’t mean the country is free of COVID-19 and warned that the government might again tighten restrictions if situations get worse.
“Remember this, the loosening of the restrictions does not mean [we’re COVID-free],” he said.
“If the contamination will be as fast as before, and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (people who are allowed to go out), then we’ll have to just go back to original program,” he added.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied allegations that the government is not ready or has no policy for the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing.
Roque stressed that the government in fact is now preparing to hit the target of 30,000 a day testing capacity by the end of May.
“From the very beginning, we have had a systematic targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod natin ay benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the WHO,” the Palace Spokesperson said in defense against against critics who are questioning the government’s advice of letting private companies shoulder COVID-19 testing for their respective workers who are returning to work.
Roque added that the government is targeting to test around 1.5% to 2% of the more than 100 million Filipinos for COVID-19 infection and clarified on what is referred to as ‘mass testing.’
“Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing,” he said.
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