THE National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has issued a memorandum order allowing ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., whose franchise had expired on March 17, 2020, and other telecommunications companies of the same status to continue to operate during the Luzon-wide quarantine period, ABS-CBN Corp. said.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Monday, the Lopez-led media company said the NTC has issued Memorandum Order 01-03-2020 dated March 16, 2020, a day before the franchise of its telecom arm, ABS-CBN Convergence, expired.

Section C of the memorandum, as quoted by the media company, states: “All subsisting licenses and permits issued by the NTC to telecommunication companies necessary to operate and maintain telecommunication facilities nationwide are declared automatically renewed and continue to be valid sixty (60) days after the end of the government-imposed quarantine period.”

ABS-CBN Convergence announced last week that it had suspended its operations while awaiting the provisional authority from the NTC that will allow it to operate.

The NTC previously declared that it would issue a provisional authority, consistent with Senate Resolution No. 40 adopted on March 4, 2020, and a letter to the NTC dated Feb. 26, 2020 from Chairperson Franz E. Alvarez of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, which was adopted by the committee in a meeting on March 10, 2020.

ABS-CBN said the provisional authority is also consistent with the letter to the NTC dated Feb. 26, 2020 from the Secretary of Justice, statements of the NTC commissioner during the House committee meeting on March 10, 2020, and the statement of Deputy Commissioner Edgardo V. Cabarios on March 11, 2020 to ABS-CBN Convergence, among other companies. — Arjay L. Balinbin