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WEEKS AWAY

Tick-tock: There’s still ‘enough time’ for ABS-CBN franchise renewal – Cayetano

/ 06:15 PM January 22, 2020

BATANGAS CITY, Philippines — With a little over two months before the franchise of media giant ABS-CBN expires, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday expressed optimism there is still “enough time” to tackle the issue.

“‘Yung budget na P4.1 trillion natapos natin ng isang buwan, ‘yun pa kayang franchise na siguro sobrang—‘yung issues two-three hearings sobrang exhaustive na nun,” Cayetano told reporters following the House session held in Batangas City.

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(For the P4.1 trillion national budget, we were able to finish that in one month. What more with this franchise that maybe two to three hearings would be exhaustive already.)

Republic Act No. 3846 requires television and radio broadcasting companies to secure a franchise from the government before they are allowed to operate. It is Congress that will decide whether to extend the franchise to public utilities, such as the media.

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ABS-CBN’s franchise will expire on March 30.

Cayetano said he has already talked to Palawan 1st Dist. Rep. Franz Alvarez, chair of the House committee on legislative franchises, who recommended that franchise bills be tackled on the first week of February.

“There are about 40 to 50 franchise bills so first week of February daw he will start and kung sino daw ang mga kumpleto ang (whichever has the complete) requirements can start the hearings,” Cayetano said.

Quo warranto petition

Cayetano said issues related to the reported quo warranto petition of state lawyers against ABS-CBN may affect the granting of the franchise if raised during hearings.

But Cayetano added: “Not all violations of the franchise is equivalent to not granting the franchise.”

“Parang sa high school ‘yan, iba yung kick out, iba yung suspended, iba ‘yung pagsasabihan ka lang,” Cayetano said.

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(It’s like in high school, being kicked out is different from being suspended and receiving a warning.)

Cayetano also assured that the hearings will be “fair”.

“No one in Congress want a dictatorship. Bakit? Unang sinasara media siyempre mahirap rin kasi may social media. Pero kung hindi, pangalawa, unang sinasara rin Congress eh. ‘Yung dictatorship, one-man o one-woman rule, halos sabay sinasara ang Kongreso at ang media,” Cayetano said.

(No one in Congress wants a dictatorship. Why? First to be closed is media but it is hard given there is still social media. But if not, second, the first to be closed is Congress. Dictatorship is a one-man o one-woman rule. Congress and media are being shut almost at the same time.)

“So rest assured, iba-iba ang views pero lahat tayo ay (even if there are varying views but we are all) pro-democracy because no one wants to shut down the media nor shut down Congress, but that doesn’t mean na (that) automatic may mag-apply (when someone applies), ibibigay mo (you surely give it),” he added.

Duterte has repeatedly said that he would block the franchise renewal of the ABS-CBN due to supposed “violations” committed by the media giant.

At one point, Duterte even urged the Lopez family, the owner of the company, to just sell it off.

Edited by KGA
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TAGS: ABS-CBN, Alan Peter Cayetano, broadcasting, Democracy, Freedom, freedom of the press, legislative franchise, Local news, Media, Nation, national news, news, Philippine news updates, Politics, press freedom, Republic Act No. 3846, rights
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