MALACAÑANG on Monday disagreed with netizens claiming that the shutdown of ABS-CBN exposed “information gaps” in calamities such as Super Typhoon Rolly.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said both private and government media are doing their best in providing news updates to keep the public informed.
“Sa tingin ko po nagbibigay pugay po tayo lalung-lalo na sa mga PTV reporters, sa PIA. Gumagana po yung communication infrastructure ng gobyerno sa panahon ng aberya,” he said in a press briefing at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) headquarters in Quezon City.
He said there is no information “vacuum” since there were other TV and radio stations which report on developments regarding natural disasters.
“So sa tingin ko po wala namang vacuum at nandiyan din po ang ating mga pribadong mga news agencies nandiyan po ang TV5, nandiyan po ang GMA 7 at nandiyan po yung mga matatapang at magagaling, masisipag na reporters ng radyo,” he added.
NDRRMC said local government units are also being provided with satellite phones which connect from anywhere as they are directly connected to satellites around the world and do not depend on terrestrial mobile networks.
Several netizens pointed out that ABS-CBN, with its wide reach, could have been useful in information dissemination during the typhoon.
In a report from Inquirer.net, University of the Philippines-Diliman associate professor in journalism Danilo Arao said the shutdown of ABS-CBN exposed information gaps in calamities such as Super Typhoon Rolly considering that the media giant is one of the outfits with the widest reach.
He said there were certain areas where only ABS-CBN can be received prior to the closure of the network.
Other media of information dissemination, such as the web or radio, may not be accessible to remote areas either, particularly due to signal issues, he added.
He also emphasized the importance of ABS-CBN’s regional networks, which could provide a better context on the information being disseminated.
ABS-CBN has been producing local news editions for airing on its 21 regional stations presented in their own dialects prior to its shutdown.
On May 5, ABS-CBN ceased its broadcast operations a day after the expiration of the network’s legislative franchise, following the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order.
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises, on July 10, voted against ABS-CBN’s franchise bid for another 25 years in a 70-11 vote.
Currently, the media giant continues its news and affairs operations, but they are mainly broadcast online. Philippine News Agency