CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY's 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez has now urged the House Committee on Legislative Franchises to set the hearings for the biggest television network ABS-CBN, which seeks to renew its franchise for another 25 years.
This, even as President Rodrigo Duterte has been threatening to deny the renewal of the country's biggest media conglomerate and to stop operating.
Rep. Rodriguez has already expressed his desire for ABS CBN to continue its operation with the renewal of its license which is set to expire on March 30, 2020.
In the event that the country's giant television network will cease to operate, thousands of its workers nationwide will also be displaced.
The Cagayan de Oro representative has called on Committee Chair and Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez to start initiating hearings to tackle the renewal of ABS CBN franchise.
Rep Rodriguez authored the bill which seeks for the renewal of the TV network franchise, along with nine other bills with the same content.
“Congress should always uphold the Constitutional mandate under [Section] 4, [Article] 3 to ensure freedom of the press. I request the hearings to be conducted upon the resumption of session on Jan. 20,” Rodriguez told reporters.
Rodriguez explained that he would want to start tackling the renewal of ABS CBN franchise since Congress is also set to adjourn in March. If hearings are not started yet, the giant TV networks application for renewal of franchise is loomed. Congress has only 24 sessions left from January to March 11, it was learned.
Rodriguez added: “All authors and stakeholders, especially ABS-CBN, must be heard. Then the committee will have to decide to renew or not to renew.”
“But it is not proper not to act on my bill and the other bills. ABS-CBN is the Philippines’ largest media conglomerate in terms of revenue, operating income, net income, assets, equity, market capitalization and number of employees,” he pointed out.
The Cagayan de Oro solon said in his HB 5705 explanatory note that the said TV network has a big and amazing corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, most especially in helping Filipinos under threat of lives and properties because of typhoon and other calamities like earthquakes.
The TV network has been in the forefront in conducting relief operations, construction of many schools all over the country, among other activities. “The late Gina Lopez initiated the Bantay Bata 163, the Bantay Kalikasan and the Kapit Bisig para sa Ilog Pasig Project,” Rodriguez added.
President Duterte has repeatedly threatened to deny the renewal of franchise of Abs Cbn as he got mad on the TV network, to whom he accused of failing to air his ad campaign during the last presidential elections which he won a wide margin against rival politicians.
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