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Catholic radio falls silent

MANILA (UCAN): Vast swathes of the airwaves in The Philippines have fallen silent, as the congress has so far failed to extend the licence of the Catholic Media Network, which is operated and owned by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines and is the biggest radio network in  the country.
With more broadcast points that any other network and more powerful transmission towers, its 54 stations in 11 regions and 35 provinces have largely fallen silent, except for a few that have defied the lack of a licence and are still operating.
The Catholic Media Network held a 25-year licence, which was last renewed in 1992.
But while the government has put the failure to renew it down to congressional committee inefficiency and the inability of its members to deal with workload, Father Jerome Secillano, from the Public Affairs Committee, harbours suspicions that it is not just inefficiency holding up the process, as the network has been critical of the government drug war and many other policies.
The speaker in the lower house, Pantaleon Alvarez, a crony of the president, Rodrigo Duterte, labelled the bishops’ conference as having a crocodile face (thick skin—dumb) for criticising the government.
In their application for renewal, the bishops pointed out that through radio and television, the bishops were able to bring to the Filipino people major news events, including natural disasters, the so-called people power revolutions of 1986 and 2001, and the visit to the country of various Church leaders, as well as promote charity drives and development programmes.
The application was lodged in January and the licence ran out on August 7. Radyo Veritas is not affected, as its licence is held by the archdiocese of Manila and was renewed for 25 years during the previous administration.

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