Senate reporters slam rejection of ABS-CBN’s application for franchise

Published July 12, 2020, 6:33 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Reporters covering the Senate on Sunday denounced the House Committee on Legislative Franchises for rejecting ABS-CBN’s application for a new franchise saying the denial showed that the lawmakers who voted in favor of the network’s shutdown have become a heavy burden to the country.

“We deplore the cruel decision of the 70 House members that will result in the loss of livelihood of the 11,000 ABS-CBN workers amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic,” the Senate reporters said in their official statement.

The group also believes that the move would bring about serious repercussions to the economy as the negative impact of the network’s shutdown is already felt in other industries and micro-entrepreneurs that were dependent on ABS-CBN’s operations.

Senate reporters also noted that state regulators themselves have attested that ABS-CBN Corp. has been complying with the law.

Below is the official statement of the Senate reporters on the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise:

The rejection of ABS-CBN’s application for the renewal of its franchise by the House of Representatives provided us with the depressing fact that nothing can be expected from many members of the chamber to protect our democracy and the welfare of Filipinos.

The denial also showed us that these lawmakers have become a heavy burden, a compounder of problems and a worsener of woes to our already suffering nation.

We deplore the cruel decision of the 70 House members that will result in the loss of livelihood of the 11,000 ABS-CBN workers amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

This will also bring about serious economic repercussions as the shutdown of ABS-CBN is already being felt in other industries and by the micro-entrepreneurs whose business is dependent on the network’s operations.

Government agencies crucial to the issue—the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)– have all repeatedly declared that ABS-CBN has been complying with the law.

But of course, these congressmen already knew all these. And yet, they still did what they did in their extraordinary display of callousness, shortsightedness and selfish political interests.

The call of some lawmakers for Filipinos to move on is insensitive and an insult to the intelligence of the people, whom these legislators think will simply forgive and forget the assault they launched against press freedom and the economy.

We also express great disappointment over the gross ineptness and the lack of spine of the National Telecommunications Commission  (NTC) officials in allowing themselves to be used for political ends.

We continue to stand in solidarity with our colleagues in ABS-CBN and all those affected by the unjust and cruel action by these congressmen.

We assure all that media organizations and the general public, even under these difficult times, will not stop and will not tire in calling out lawmakers and other public officials for their wrongdoings.

ABS-CBN’s franchise bid was denied last Friday, July 10, after 70 lawmakers voted to adopt the technical working group’s report recommending the denial of its application.