Thursday, July 18, 2019

NTC eyes closure of 30 radio stations in Davao Region

THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is set to recommend the closure of around 30 radio stations in Davao Region for violating provisions in the communications and broadcasting laws.

These radio stations also lack the necessary permits to operate.

NTC, however, emphasized that the move is in adherence to the constitution and not to stifle press freedom.

NTC Regional Director Nelson Cañete during the AFP-PNP press forum on Wednesday at The Royal Mandaya Hotel warned these media outlets, saying this year they will be “harsh” in dealing with erring media outlets that are not following regulations.

They will also strictly implement the show cause as well as the cease and desist order (CDO), he added.

Cañete said that they have already conducted inspection twice last year, however, despite the warning, these radio stations continue to operate.

In Davao City, there were two stations that they will recommend for cease and desist order (CDO) to their higher office. Though he refused to name these stations, however, he said that these are located on Matina Shrine Hills and Toril. The towers, where transmitters will be attached should be made of steel, but these radio stations use bamboo as alternative.

“Gusto ko lang ipaabot sa kanila na we are not here to curtail the freedom of the media. Ang amin lang is your compliance with our regulation on the technical side. Not because we hate you but because we are here to implement our regulations,” he said.

During the height of the revocation of the Security and Exchange Commission on the certificate of incorporation of news website Rappler for violating the constitutional restriction on foreign ownership of mass media, he admitted that they feared being criticized for allegedly curtailing press freedom.

“We wanted to clarify that whether you are pro-Duterte or anti-Duterte as long as your station has no permit, has no license we will implement the CDO. We will only do what is ought for us to do,” Cañete stressed.

Cañete added that they have already issued CDO in Lupon, Davao Oriental and two in Davao del Sur in Digos City and Bansalan.

But despite the CDO, these stations continue with their broadcast operations as they have no authority to close them down but merely recommend. The least they could do is to report it to their higher office for contempt for the commission.

The NTC, he said, assigns radio frequency for those who will seek permit from them after complying the qualification set by the law, but since some were not given permits as they do not conform to the standard, these radio stations still operate even without frequency and permit.

He urged the uncertified radio stations to get permits in Manila for them to be certified, adding that they are willing to assist them.

This January alone, they have issued a show cause order to a radio station in Mati City, Davao Oriental after their inspection showed that the registered transmitter was replaced with a new one after it was hit by a lightning.

He said the action is prohibited because the serial number is indicated in the permit.

To date, he had already recommended 50 show cause order to the commission but none in Davao City.
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