Cayetano vows ABS-CBN won’t close while House tackles franchise renewal
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said he will coordinate with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to ensure that media giant ABS-CBN can continue with its operations while its bid for franchise renewal remains hanging in the House of Representatives.
In an interview with reporters in Zambales, Cayetano said there are “more urgent” measures that the ABS-CBN franchise renewal that are being prioritized by the lower chamber.
Cayetano gave assurance that the network would not close shop even if the House of Representatives would not be able to tackle measures seeking the network’s franchise renewal by the time their franchise expires.
“Meron po tayong ugnayan sa NTC na gagawin na habang naghi-hearing kami o habang pending sa amin, hindi magsasara. So, is it important? Yes. But is it urgent?” Cayetano said.
Several lawmakers have earlier said that ABS-CBN can still operate even after its franchise expires, for as long as it can secure a provisional authority from the NTC.
However, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman bristled at the suggestion, saying it is a mere “illusory remedy.” He said only holders of a valid, existing and/or renewed franchise can apply with the NTC for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN).
“The NTC cannot on its own resurrect an expired legislative franchise by granting a former grantee a ‘provisional authority to operate,’” said Lagman.
Currently, there are 11 bills pending in the House committee on legislative franchises seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.
A resolution, House Resolution (HR) No. 639, has also been filed urging the House committee on legislative franchises to “report out without further delay for plenary action” a consolidated version of the bills on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
Edited by EDV
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