Cayetano to meet with some senators to discuss ABS-CBN franchise | Inquirer News

Cayetano to meet with some senators to discuss ABS-CBN franchise

/ 09:57 PM April 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is set to meet with some senators  on Thursday to discuss the franchise of media giant ABS-CBN amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with radio station DZMM, Cayetano said the would meet with Sen. Bong Go, among others, to talk about their possible move with regard to the ABS-CBN franchise, which is set to expire on May 4, the same day Congress resumes session.

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“The House of Representatives has ordered the [National Telecommunication Commission] to grant a permit during this time, but actually I’m going to talk to some senators tomorrow, led by Sen. Bong Go,” Cayetano said, speaking partly in Filipino.

“We will meet on what would be the good thing to do, whether it’s a joint resolution or whatever, so that the hearings would not be compromised but there will be certainty,” he added.

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Cayetano assured, however, that there was no move to have the media giant closed down.

“Actually, there’s supposed to be a hearing on May 4 or 5. But what we want to do is to let it be known to all viewers of ABS-CBN, DZMM; to all the employees, stars, directors: There’s no move to close down ABS-CBN,” he said.

The 11 bills seeking the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise remain pending before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises — the earliest of which, at least in the 18th Congress, was filed in July 2019.

So far, the committee has held only one meeting to discuss the matter. But no one from ABS-CBN or from the opposition was invited to this meeting.

Instead, the lawmakers decided to first draft the ground rules for the formal deliberations of the franchise renewal bid of ABS-CBN, which Cayetano earlier deemed to be necessary so that the hearings would not turn into a “circus.”

During the meeting, the NTC said it would “likely” give ABS-CBN provisional authority to operate.

Earlier, Cayetano and Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, the franchise committee chair,  sent a letter to the NTC enjoining the commission to grant a provisional authority to operate to ABS-CBN effective on May 4, 2020, “until such time that the House of Representatives/Congress has made a decision on its application.”

/atm

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, Alan Peter Cayetano
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