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ON ABS-CBN FRANCHISE

Sotto tells NTC: Why place the burden on us?

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 03:18 PM February 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines— The idea of Congress passing a concurrent resolution to allow ABS-CBN to operate even after its franchise expires on May 4 did not sit well with Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

“I’m just wondering why they want a reso from us when in the [previously] expired franchises they never asked for one,” Sotto told reporters on Tuesday.

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“Why are they placing the burden on us? They should be decisive enough to act,” he added.

The Senate leader later said his statement was directed at the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) which he said has a solo power to issue a provisional authority to a franchise holder.

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During Monday’s hearing of the Senate committee on public services, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba underscored the need for Congress to pass a resolution to provide a legal basis for ABS-CBN’s continued operation.

In the same hearing, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Congress may pass a concurrent resolution to authorize the NTC to issue a provisional authority that would allow ABS-CBN to continue its operations.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, in an interview with DZMM this Tuesday he would file the concurrent resolution on Wednesday, separate from a joint resolution that he earlier filed.

Both resolutions seek to extend the franchise of ABS-CBN until the end of the 18th Congress in 2022 while its application for franchise renewal remains pending before it.

Unlike the joint resolution, however, Drilon explained that the concurrent resolution would no longer require the President’s approval once passed by the majority of Congress— the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Senator Joel Villanueva expressed openness to support such resolution, citing the more than 11,000 workers who would get affected by the ABS-CBN shutdown.

“Malaking bagay po na tinalakay sa pagdinig kahapon ang pagtupad ng ABS-CBN sa mga panuntunan at regulasyon na nangingibabaw sa kanilang negosyo,” Villanueva said in another statement.

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“Mapa SEC, BIR, NTC at ayon na rin sa DOLE, walang nakitang paglabag ang network sa mga labor standards nang gawin ang labor inspection sa kumpanya kamakailan,” he added.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, franchise, Legislation, Media, Senate, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
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