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    ABS-CBN shutdown amid COVID-19 pandemic a 'heartless' move

    MANILA, Philippines – Senators and labor group condemned the decision of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to halt operations of ABS-CBN, the country's leading television network, with the pending approval of franchise renewal.

    More than 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN lose their jobs
    More than 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN will lose their jobs due to stoppage of ABS-CBN operations | Photo Credit: ABS-CBN

    Senate Labor Committee chair Joel Villanueva described the action of NTC as "heartless" as the country is facing COVID-19 pandemic.

    READ: ABS-CBN goes off air in compliance with NTC order

    "To issue this [order] in times of COVID-19, when people need jobs to survive the pandemic is just heartless considering congressional hearings have shown that the station has not violated any law to justify none extension of franchise," Villanueva said in a statement.

    Senate Committee on Public Services chair Grace Poe shared the same sentiments for 11,000 workers of the network.

    SEE ALSO: ABS-CBN releases statement on cease and desist order issued by NTC

    "What many don't realize is this time ABS-CBN and other networks continue to pay their talents even if they are not on regular broadcasting schedule," Poe said during the Senate's hybrid session.

    "Many will lose that benefit of having support while there is no work. Ngayon pa sila (NTC) magpapasara kung kailan maraming walang trabaho? At least ito naaalagaan, hindi kailangan sa gobyerno umasa. At least they (employees) are being taken care of by the company, not just depending on the government)," she said.

    Meanwhile, labor group Defend Jobs Philippines said "NTC’s cease and desist order against the Kapamilya network is a clear betrayal to the station’s more than 11,000 workers and their families."

    "The NTC and the national government is moving like thieves in the night while the station, its workers and the public are busy in facing the pandemic," Defend Jobs Philippines spokesperson Thadeus Ifurung said.

    — The Summit Express

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