Wednesday, March 3, 2021

House drops ABS-CBN temporary franchise, to proceed with full franchise hearings


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THE House of Representatives suspended deliberations on the bill granting a 5-month franchise that woula allow media giant ABS-CBN Corp to resume operations after it was shut down on May 5 and would instead proceed with hearings on the full 25-year franchise at the committee level.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, principal author of the bill, announced the decision of the House leadership to forgo the provisional franchise on Tuesday, after its passage on second reading had been recalled.

Cayetano said the decision came after lawmakers expressed varying views on the matter and in consultation with House members, political parties and groups. He said that the issue needed to be tackled more comprehensively, which was not possible with other priorities such as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“The House leadership have decided to forgo with the provisional franchise but we will immediately proceed with the hearings for the 25 year franchise,” Cayetano said in a speech delivered before the plenary on Tuesday.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said the plenary would now refocus on pending measures in response to the pandemic while the ABS-CBN franchise would be heard at the committee level.

“The Committee on Legislative Franchises will take the lead in hearing the matters of the ABS[-CBN], as well as the other franchises pending before it. They are ready, able and willing to act with expediency to meet the urgency of the franchise applications,” Romualdez said.



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