Manila, May 19, 2003 (STAR) By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes - GMA Network, Inc. (GMA) has asked the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to suspend and eventually cancel the licenses of cable companies Central CATV (SkyCable), Inc., Pilipino Cable Corp. (Sun Cable) and Philippine Home Cable Holdings, Inc. (Home Cable).

In its motion filed last May 13, GMA alleged that despite an order from the NTC, the three cable TV stations still refuse to return complainant’s VHF station back to Channel 12 and its UHF station back to Channel 27.

The said motion was filed pursuant to the NTC’s decision rendered last April 25 which found SkyCable to have violated the provisions of NTC Memorandum Circular No. 4-08-88 by arbitrarily changing channel assignments of KBP members’ TV stations. GMA complained about its transfer from Channel 12 to Channel 14. 

SkyCable was ordered by NTC, among others to carry GMA’s television signals on its CATV system on the channel numbers at which their stations are transmitting and to cease from arbitrarily changing channel assignments without advance written notice to complainant KBP members’ TV stations, the public and the approval by the NTC.

The NTC also said in its decision that since the issue is enforcement of NTC MC 4-08-88, the decision becomes a precedent that is binding upon all cable TV operators who are similarly situated.  

The said decision being immediately executory, GMA alleged in its motion that it wrote SkyCable, Home Cable and Pilipino Cable a letter demanding that the latter’s respective cable systems restore GMA’s VHF TV station to Channel 12 and its UHF station to Channel 27. A copy of the said decision was furnished by GMA to SkyCable, Home Cable and Pilipino Cable together with the said letter. 

GMA alleged that despite notice to the said cable operators, the latter failed to heed the NTC decision as well as MC 4-08-88.

GMA asked the NTC to impose the appropriate sanctions against the cable companies, including the officers and directors, as well as the electronic and communications engineers (ECE) responsible for the operation and maintenance of the cable TV systems of Sky Cable, Home Cable, and Pilipino Cable.

Specifically, the complainant asked for the imposition fines upon the cable companies at the rate of P200 per day per TV station rechanneled unlawfully since March 22, 1999 until compliance;

It also asked the NTC to cause the filing of the necessary complaints for indirect contempt and violation of the penal provisions of the Public Service Act and the Radio Control Law (penalties range from a fine of P2,000 to P20,000, or imprisonment of two years to five years, or both, in the discretion of the court) by the directors and officers, including the electronic and communication engineers, responsible for the cable systems’ operations and maintenance.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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