By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo believes there is no reason for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to close down media giant ABS-CBN when “all hands on deck” should be in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement sent to media late Tuesday night, Robredo questioned the timing of the cease-and-desist order issued by the NTC halting the operations of the broadcasting network.
“Ang pangunahing tanong sa pagpapasara ng ABS-CBN: Bakit ito ginagawa ngayon sa panahong humaharap tayo sa matinding krisis?” Robredo said.
(The main question in the closure of ABS-CBN is: Why is it being done now in a time we are facing an extreme crisis?)
“All institutions—including media—should be united under a single purpose: ang pagsiguro sa kaligtasan ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino (ensuring the safety of the lives of every Filipino),” she added.
In the face of a crisis, Robredo noted the value of the free flow of “accurate and timely information” that will guide the country’s citizens.
”This free flow of information literally saves lives. Closing down ABS-CBN costs lives, on top of unnecessarily burdening the thousands who will lose their jobs,” the opposition leader said.
The NTC issued an order directing ABS-CBN to cease operations after its legislative franchise expired on Monday (May 4).
The shutdown puts at risk about 11,000 jobs in the country’s media network, on top of those already displaced due to the pandemic.
Robredo said she was surprised over the NTC’s order for ABS-CBN to stop its operations while the resumption of Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) were allowed.
“Hindi mahirap matukoy kung alin sa dalawang ito ang mas nakatutulong sa pagtugon sa krisis na kinakaharap natin ngayon,” she said.
(It not difficult to pinpoint which of these two is more helpful in responding to the crisis we are now facing.)
“Umaasa tayong mamulat ang administrasyon sa panganib na dala ng pagsasara ng ABS-CBN, lalo na habang patuloy ang krisis pangkalusugang dala ng COVID-19,” she added.
(We hope the administration will be aware on the danger of the ABS-CBN closure, especially as the health crisis brought by COVID-19 continues.)