THE House of Representatives will hear the 11 pending bills on the renewal of franchise of the television network on March 10.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano made the announcement in a press briefing on Wednesday.
Cayetano said the Committee on Legislative Franchises released a notice that the 11 bills seeking to renew the ABS-CBN franchise will be taken up on March 10.
The agenda of the 1st regular session will only have three items: The opening remarks by the committee chairman Franz Alvarez, briefing on the ground rules of the hearing, and instructions to the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC).
Cayetano clarified that he changed his stance on ABS-CBN’s franchise as not being that urgent compared to other bills currently prioritized by Congress. He cited the need to conduct the first meeting to re-announce the call for submission of position papers; set the ground rules for the proceedings of the hearing; and to define the issues and the order in which they would be tackled.
“Ayaw nating maging (We don't want it to be a) circus. Ayaw natin po na maging bull session ang hearing (We do not want the hearing to turn into a bull session),” Cayetano said.
He also urged all parties to submit their position papers before Congress reconvenes in May.
“So, meaning, for example, lahat ng labor issues, isang usapan, then sasagutin na ‘to ng ABS-CBN. Lahat ng questions sa political coverage, sasama-sama ni Chairman, then isang sagutan para hindi tayo parang circus. Lahat ng mga press freedom advocates natin ang gusto magsalita, isama-sama nila, tapos ilagay natin, tapos sinong sasagot sa kanila (So, meaning for example, all labor issues will be tackled in one discussion, then ABS-CBN will respond. All questions on political coverage will be lumped together by the Chairman, then one reply to avoid looking like circus. All press freedom advocates who want to speak will be organized into one discussion, then we’d call who should answer from them),” Cayetano said.