Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza has warned the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) not to cave in to the pressure by some lawmakers at the House of Representatives to shut down SkyCable, saying cable TV companies do not need to secure a legislative franchise in order to operate.
“Hindi dumadaan [sa Kongreso] ang prangkisa ng mga cable [companies] at SkyCable, sa NTC ‘yan. So I’m also warning NTC, huwag kayong padadala sa mga pananakot nitong ilang congressmen,” said Atienza said in an online public discussion on the ABS-CBN franchise.
Atienza was reacting to Sagip part-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta’s revelation that NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba is seeking the advice of Solicitor General Jose Calida on a legal strategy to halt the operations of SkyCable.
Marcoleta earlier threatened to cite Cordoba with contempt for upholding Executive Order 205, which was signed by former Pres. Cory Aquino allowing cable operators to exist without the need to seek a legislative franchise but only permits and licenses from the NTC.
Aside from calling on the NTC to remain firm on upholding the validity of EO 205, Atienza also assailed the lawmakers for the pushing for the closure of SkyCable, which is not within its jurisdiction.
“Ano na naman ‘yan? You are going to use the power that you will perceive is yours. ‘Pag inalis pa ninyo ang SkyCable, eh baka hindi na maintindihan ng lahat ‘yan. Maniniwala na sila na wala nang pupuntahan ito,” he added.
Meanwhile, a nationwide group of cable TV operators has also voiced concern over government’s moves questioning the legality of EO 205 in order to close SkyCable. “Pag may mangyari sa SkyCable malamang mangyayari na rin sa aming lahat,” said Philippine Cable Telecommunications Association (PCTA) president Joel Dabao in a TV interview.
Dabao warned that such move would not be beneficial for the consuming public, who rely on cable TV for information, entertainment, and education. “‘Yung kawawang subscriber namin na kinabitan namin ng Internet na wala ng ibang choice kundi sa amin at kung walang mapapanood na channel kundi galing sa amin ay mawawalan ng balita at edukasyon sa panahon ngayon na napaka-kailangan po,” he added.
Dabao confirmed that there are over 1,000 cable operators in the country, 300 of which are members of the PCTA.