The House of Representatives Committee of the Whole finally filed a bill on Wednesday, May 13, granting ABS-CBN provisional franchise to operate.
Under House Bill No. 6732, ABS-CBN will be granted a provisional franchise valid until October 31, 2020.
The interim license will “give both the House of Representatives and the Senate [time] to hear the issues being raised for and against the renewal, and assess, with complete impartiality and fairness, whether or not the network shall be granted a franchise for another 25 years.”
“Through this measure, we hope to strike a balance between the immediate needs of the people amid this crisis and the duty of Congress to ensure accountability to our present laws,” the lawmakers said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“Providing ABS-CBN with a provisional franchise valid until 31 October 2020 will give both the House of Representatives and the Senate [time] to hear the issues being raised for and against the renewal, and assess, with complete impartiality and fairness, whether or not the network shall be granted a franchise for another twenty-five (25) years,” they added.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano filed the measure while emphasizing the importance of tackling the COVID-19 crisis as well as the franchise renewal which garnered praise from the public, including ABS-CBN personalities.
Lea Salonga didn’t even need words. everybody knows what her tweet means.
— Lea Salonga (@MsLeaSalonga) May 13, 2020
Maja Salvador posted a photo of Cayetano with the banner of the news and was just thankful.
— MAJA (@dprincessmaja) May 13, 2020
Cayetano tried to compensate for his lack of leadership and his incompetence.
Thank you Sen. Alan Cayetano and congress for giving us a fair chance in court without shutting us down. Praying that the outcome will favor the Filipino people and enabling us to help during this crisis🙏🏻 https://t.co/WwRvsVJ8Yy
— Angel Locsin (@143redangel) May 13, 2020
Vice Ganda wants constant prayers for “the best to happen.”
But please lets not stop praying for the best to happen. This is just start of the process. Salamat po sa mga panalangin nyo Madlang People!!!
— jose marie viceral (@vicegandako) May 13, 2020
Maraming Salamat sa Kongreso!!!!! Malaking bagay po ito. Maraming salamat ulit!!!!
— jose marie viceral (@vicegandako) May 13, 2020
His special man Ion Perez was just as happy as him.
Marami pong salamat sa Kongreso! Thank you lord! ❤💚💙
— ion perez (@pereziion27_) May 13, 2020
Thank You Lord! ❤️🌈 Salamat sa kongreso 😊
THANK YOU!!!!! https://t.co/nvZpxt2gGK
— Jodi Sta.Maria (@JodiStaMaria) May 13, 2020
This is more important than most people actually think, and Karen Davila thought this day would never come.
Maraming salamat sa ating mababang kapulungan. I honestly didn’t expect this. The 6 month provisional franchise allows a way forward to address concerns. Ibig sabihin po, papayagang magbukas muli ang ABSCBN habang dinidinig ang mga isyu laban sa network. Malaking bagay po ito 🇵🇭
— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) May 13, 2020
Thank you Congress!
— Roque Rox Santos (@roxsantos) May 13, 2020
Maraming Salamat!!! Thank you God!!!❤️💚💙🙏🙏🙏
— Cherry Pie Picache (@Yescppicache) May 13, 2020
House of Congress approves provisional franchise for ABS-CBN until Oct 31, 2020. The bill was sponsored by the House Speaker himself after sitting on the franchise for many many long months.
— Ces Oreña-Drilon (@cesdrilon) May 13, 2020
The bill’s explanatory note says, “We cannot, in good conscience, sweep the accusations under the rug.”
The bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Neptali Gonzalez, Raneo Abu, Roberto Puno, Dan Fernandez, LRay Villafuerte Jr., Ferdinand Romualdez, and Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado.
Cagayan De Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez told Teleradyo that the chamber is now preparing a committee report which will then be presented before the House plenary.
“We welcome this. It was a surprise but we were pleasantly surprised because there is now a bill to give a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN,” said Rodriguez in a separate interview on ANC.
“… It’s just a few months but it’s good enough so we can restore ABS-CBN to the airwaves,” he said.
He added that once finalized in the house, the bill will be sent to the Senate so the chamber “can already act on it.”
“There will be no rush judgment. Both the praise for and the charges against the network will be heard and will be put on public record,”
“Whatever the outcome of these hearings will be, there will be reforms. There must be, not just a new, but a better normal. Not only for ABS-CBN, but for the entire media industry,” Cayetano said.
Section 4 of the “Responsibility to the Public” bill states that ABS-CBN give, free of charge, “adequate public service time” that is “reasonable and sufficient” for government to reach the public for critical “announcements and warnings concerning public emergencies and calamities as necessity, urgency or law require.”
The bill also mandates ABS-CBN to “provide at all times sound and balanced programming; promote public participation; assist in the functions of public information and education; conform to the ethics of honest enterprise; promote audience sensibility and empowerment through, but not limited to, closed captioning; and not use its stations or facilities for the broadcasting of obscene and indecent language, speech, act or scene; or for the dissemination of deliberately false information or willful misrepresentation, to the detriment of the public interest, or to incite, encourage, or assist in subversive or treasonable acts.”
In addition, President Rodrigo Duterte will have the “special right” to “temporarily take over and operate” ABS-CBN’s stations and facilities in times of “war, rebellion, public peril, calamity, emergency, disaster or disturbance of peace and order,” or could suspend its broadcast operations “in the interest of public safety, security and public welfare.”
The measure also empowers the President to “authorize the temporary use and operation thereof by any agency of the government, upon due compensation to the grantee, for the use of said stations or facilities during the period when they shall be so operated.”