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Palace: No info gap on ‘Rolly’ despite ABS-CBN shutdown

MJ Blancaflor

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Malacañang on Monday denied a supposed communication vacuum during the onslaught of typhoon “Rolly” (international name: Goni) due to ABS-CBN shutdown.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said there was no void in media coverage of the world’s strongest storm this year despite the limited options for news outfits following the non-renewal of the broadcast giant’s franchise.

Responding to a question, Roque argued that other news organizations such as the state-run People’s Television Network (PTV) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) disseminated information and updates on typhoon-hit areas.

“We honor our reporters in state-run PTV and the PIA. The communication infrastructure of the government works in the middle of disaster so I think there was no such vacuum,” Roque said.

“There are also private news agencies like TV5, GMA-7, and the brave, skillful and hardworking radio reporters. So, I think there was no communication vacuum,” he added.

ABS-CBN was a trending topic on Twitter over the weekend as social media users recalled the Kapamilya network’s coverage of the previous typhoons calamities.

Four months ago, the House of Representatives denied the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, forcing the company to shut down its Regional Network Group (RNG) and killed the sole news source of some remote areas in the Philippines.

University of the Philippines Journalism professor Danilo Arao said that while all media organizations are on top of the typhoon coverage, ABS-CBN’s RNG leaves a big gap.

“While we expect all news media organizations to provide the latest weather updates, I still maintain that ABS-CBN is sorely missed for one simple, four-word reason: All hands on deck,” Arao wrote in a Twitter post.

“Those who claim that there still exist thousands of news media organizations conveniently forget the usefulness of the ABS-CBN Regional Network Group. Two words: Duterte legacy,” Arao said.

Following the franchise rejection, ABS-CBN’s radio station has shut down and its radio format program Teleradyo can now only be accessed online and via cable TV.

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