Saturday, February 27, 2021

House urged to tackle ‘unfinished business’ of ABS-CBN franchise


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CLOSURE A Manila Times file photo of ABS-CBN after it was ordered closed by the National Telecommunications Commission in early 2020 when its 25-year franchise lapsed. A committee at the House of Representatives rejected the network’s application for renewal later in the year. The House has been called upon to settle its “unfinished business”, including ABS-CBN, when it resumes session next week.

THE House of Representatives has been urged to tackle its “unfinished business”, which includes the bill granting a franchise to shuttered media network ABS-CBN, when it resumes session next week.

Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor on Wednesday asked the plenary to resolve the committee report on House Bill 6732 on Wednesday, as he raised a point of order explaining that items listed in the unfinished business must be tackled first before proceeding to the business of the day.

He said that the committee report had been pending in the plenary for about three months.

“I would like to raise the point of order that the unfinished business of the ABS-CBN franchise will be decided first before we take up any issue in plenary,” said Defensor, vice chairman of the Committee on Legislative Franchises.

“I’m calling, Mr. Speaker, that we either affirm the committee report and do away with that unfinished business before we continue with the other businesses of the day that we are considering at the plenary,” added Defensor, one of the lawmakers who raised several issues against the network during the panel hearings last year.


After conferring with Defensor, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin Remulla assured that the plenary would start taking up items in the unfinished business on the resumption of session on Monday next week.

House Bill 6732 is one of 8 items listed under the House’s unfinished business. It is unclear if all items will be tackled on Monday.

Lawmakers supporting the ABS-CBN franchise grant have called for the reopening of discussions in the plenary after Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd filed a bill renewing the franchise.

Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto also filed a new bill renewing ABS-CBN’s franchise for another 25 years.

But Defensor had said that new bills may not be tackled until the committee report was resolved or if the authors of the previous bills withdrew.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises denied ABS-CBN a fresh franchise with a vote of 70 panel members last July 2020.



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