Sotto files fresh bill renewing ABS-CBN franchise

Published January 4, 2021, 7:49 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on Monday filed a bill renewing the franchise granted to ABS-CBN Corporation under Republic Act 7966 for another 25 years.      

Senate President Vicente Sotto III (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)

The filing of Senate Bill 1967 by Sotto followed the change of leadership at the House of Representatives which refused late last year to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN because of violations of its franchise coupled with alleged partial political positions, among others.        

Sotto was referring to the current Speaker, Lord Allan Velasco, who replaced Taguig Congressman  Alan Peter S. Cayetano.       

ABS-CBN is the Philippines’ largest entertainment and media network operating various platforms including domestic television, radio networks, worldwide OTT and online platforms, Sotto said.       

The bill states that ‘’in September, ABS-CBN is still the top choice of viewers in the Philippines as its viewers nationwide prefer to catch relevant news and inspiring TV series on ABS-CBN as the network registered an average audience share of 45 percent or 14 points higher than GMA’s 321 percent, based on the date from Kantar Media.’’       

‘’Likewise, Filipinos abroad feel a little less away from home due to The Filipino Channel, commonly known as TFC, also owned and operated by ABS-CBN, which airs programs being shown in the ABS-CBN television network,’’ it said.         

‘’ABS-CBN’s wide reach to Filipinos, alongside with the undeniable advantages of broadcast media relative to mass communication, definitely calls for the immediate renewal of the network’s franchise,” he added.     

‘’Thus, the passage of this bill is earnestly sought,’’ Sotto said.