Makabayan bloc files bill seeking ABS-CBN franchise renewal
The opposition Makabayan bloc filed on Monday the 10th bill seeking the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN, warning that the country was walking “at the edge of a knife” of authoritarianism with the broadcast giant “on the verge of a shutdown.”
ABS-CBN’s license will lapse on March 30, but Congress will be in session only until March 11.
In filing House Bill No. 6052, the six-member progressive bloc urged Congress to extend the network’s 25-year franchise, which had remained in limbo as a result of lack of administration backing and President Duterte’s threats to block its renewal.
“The shutdown of ABS-CBN due to a mere personal grudge by the Chief Executive is evocative of the forced shutdown of radio and TV stations during the Marcos martial rule in 1972,” the Makabayan lawmakers said in an explanatory note.
“In fact, ABS-CBN was padlocked, and eventually sequestered and became one of the TV stations controlled by Marcos and his cronies during that dreaded era,” they recalled.
The Makabayan bloc is composed of Representatives Ferdinand Gaite, Carlos Zarate and Eufemia Cullamat of Bayan Muna, Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, France Castro of ACT Teachers, and Sarah Elago of Kabataan.
They said Congress’ refusal to extend ABS-CBN’s franchise “could be construed as an act against the Constitutionally-protected freedoms, especially of the right to a free and independent press.” INQ
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