By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas Sr. threw his support on Sunday to the passage of bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN Corp.’s franchise by another 25 years.
The 89-year old veteran lawmaker, who is part of the House Visayan bloc, said he is one with the Lopez-owned broadcast giant in pushing for the extension of its legislative franchise, which will expire on May 4.
“We are all for the extension of the network’s legislative franchise,” Gullas, former Cebu provincial governor, said in a statement.
A total of 14 related measures for ABS-CBN franchise renewal have been filed in the Lower Chamber.
“We regard mass media in general and TV networks in particular as the State’s indispensable ally not only in the prompt dissemination of information to the public, but also in promoting transparency and accountability in government,” Gullas said.
Gullas’ family is the founder of The Freeman, Cebu’s first daily newspaper. The Freeman was founded in 1919 with a motto–“The fair and fearless.”
“If Congress is able to grant franchises to startup companies, surely we can extend the franchises of those entities that have been operating over long periods and have proven themselves to be worthy,” Gullas said.
Last Feb. 24, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, chaired by Palawan 1st district Rep. Franz Alvarez formally started the “process” of tackling measures seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise by accepting position papers for or against the bills.
Alvarez earlier said they will accept position papers until April, and will likely start the deliberations by May or by August after President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), at the latest.
He said they are committed to conduct “fair and impartial” deliberations on the ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal measures.