‘Politics’ hindering action on ABS-CBN franchise – solon

Published January 2, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio

ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro said it’s unfortunate that the House panel which has a direct hand in the future of broadcasting behemoth ABS-CBN is letting itself affected by “politics.”

ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
ACT-Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro

“I think the Franchise committee is playing too much into the politics of the situation,” said Castro, a member of the militant Makabayan faction and a Minority Bloc stalwart.

The lady lawmaker was referring to the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, chaired by Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez. The panel deals with matters directly and principally relating to the grant, amendment, extension, or revocation of franchises.

ABS-CBN’s television and radio franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020, after which employees of the Lopez-owned network – estimated at around 11,000 – might need to find new jobs.

There are of course measures filed in the House of Representatives to renew the media giant’s franchise for another 25 years, but so far the Franchise panel hasn’t budged in the current 18th Congress.

Similar bills also weren’t acted upon during the 17th Congress, or when President Duterte assumed power.

The belief is that the committee doesn’t want to act on the bills since President Duterte has gone public about his disdain for the network.

Duterte alleged that ABS-CBN refused to run his political advertisements during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

Most recently, the Chief Executive said it would be better for the Lopezes to sell the network amid the uncertainty on whether or not the measures for franchise renewal would prosper in the Lower Chamber.

The Lopezes have owned ABS-CBN for over 63 years. The media conglomerate reportedly raked in P1.9 billion in net income in 2018.