Sotto on ABS-CBN franchise: ‘Bring it to the Senate, we will approve it!’
MANILA, Philippines — The franchise renewal of ABS-CBN will face a favorable fate in the Senate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said shortly after the media giant went off the air as ordered of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
The NTC issued the order on Tuesday, May 5, a day after the franchise of ABS-CBN ended.
“ABS Franchise, bring it to the Senate, we will approve it!” Sotto said in a tweet on Tuesday.
ABS Franchise, bring it to the Senate, we will approve it!FEATURED STORIESNEWSINFO
— Tito Sotto (@sotto_tito) May 5, 2020
Bills seeking to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN should emanate from the House of Representatives before it can be tackled in the Senate.
Several other senators decried the NTC for not keeping its word that it would grant ABS-CBN provisional authority to operate while its franchise renewal remained pending in Congress.
Sen. Nancy Binay, meanwhile, criticized the move of the NTC as it would mean that 11,000 Filipino workers would lose their jobs.
“In these trying times, information save lives. Tapos, ngayon n’yo pa tatanggalin ang 11,000 Pilipinong katuwang sa paghahatid ng impormasyon?” Binay said over Twitter.
“You don’t kill the people and the platform delivering valuable life-saving information,” she added.
In these trying times, information save lives. Tapos, ngayon n'yo pa tatanggalin ang 11,000 Pilipinong katuwang sa paghahatid ng impormasyon?
You don't kill the people and the platform delivering valuable life-saving information.#DefendPressFreedom#ABSCBNFranchise
— Senator Nancy Binay (@SenatorBinay) May 5, 2020
In its May 5 order, the NTC directed ABS-CBN to stop operating its television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide “absent a valid Congressional Franchise required by law.”
NTC cited the Radio Control Law, or Republic Act No. 3846, which states that “no person, firm, company, association, or corporation shall construct, install, establish, or operate a radio transmitting station, or radio receiving station used for commercial purposes, or a radio broadcasting station, without having first obtained a franchise therefor from the Congress of the Philippines.”
Thus, with the expiration of Republic Act. No 7966, which granted ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise to operate its TV and radio broadcasting stations, NTC said that ABS-CBN “no longer has a valid and subsisting congressional franchise as required by Act No. 3846.
In a statement, ABS-CBN said: “Millions of Filipinos will lose their source of news and entertainment when ABS-CBN is ordered to go off-air on TV and radio tonight (May 5) when people need crucial and timely information as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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