ABS-CBN’s franchise is scheduled to officially end on May 4, Monday, but Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano says there’s no reason for the network to shut down even without a franchise renewal.
Cayetano says the network is essential to the country and its people but wants it to take responsibility for certain issues.
“I want ABS-CBN to be accountable for some issues regarding their franchise.
“I cannot imagine a Philippines without ABS-CBN. There is absolutely no reason na isara ang ABS,” Cayetano told DZMM.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate wants a hearing ASAP, especially at a time like this when information is needed and when ABS-CBN’s Pantawid ng Pag-ibig fundraiser is helping poor families during the enhanced community quarantine.
Cayetano guarantees there are no plans on shutting the network down.
“Actually dapat on May 4 or 5 may hearing na, wala pong move na isara ang ABS-CBN.
“Nag-utos na ang house of representatives sa NTC to grant a permit during this time.”
Back in February, the NTC was also asked by Cayetano and Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, the franchise committee chair, to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to continue operating effective on May 4, 2020 “until such time that the House of Representatives/Congress has made a decision on its application.”
“Meron kaming authority na magbigay ng franchise for 25 years.”
ABS-CBN can cover a wider scope compared to other news networks, and is very important given the situation in the country.
“Wag nating iunderstimate yung entertainment atsaka yung information dissemination during this important times di ba?
“Hindi naman lahat ng istasyon pareho ang reach or rating sa ating kababayan.”
Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares says a franchise renewal is essential to prevent further unemployment due to the outbreak.
“I think right now the bigger problem is not really the franchise. It’s really the business outlook. Kasi nabubuhay rin ang network sa advertising.”
“The government is also concerned na walang matumba na business.
“We don’t want to close out ABS whether it’s because of the franchise or because of business.”
Cayetano will be meeting with other Senators to discuss the renewal, and what to do next.
“The House of Representatives has ordered the [National Telecommunication Commission] to grant a permit during this time, but actually I’m going to talk to some senators tomorrow, led by Sen. Bong Go.”
“We will meet on what would be the good thing to do, whether it’s a joint resolution or whatever, so that the hearings would not be compromised but there will be a certainty,” he added.