House Committee of the Whole OKs bill on ABS-CBN provisional franchise ’til October 2020
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives Committee of the Whole on Wednesday approved the bill granting media giant ABS-CBN a provisional franchise to operate until October 2020.
House Bill No. 6732 or “An Act Granting the ABS-CBN Corporation A Franchise to Construct, Install, Operate and Maintain Radio and Television Broadcasting Stations in the Philippines, and For Other Purposes”, was filed by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and several other lawmakers.
Under the bill, ABS-CBN will be granted a provisional franchise valid until October 31, 2020.
“Through this measure, we hope to strike a balance between the immediate needs of the people amid his crisis and the duty of Congress to ensure accountability to our present laws,” the lawmakers said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“Providing ABS-CBN with a provisional franchise valid until 31 October 2020 will give both the House of Representatives and the Senate to hear the issues being raised for and against the renewal, and assess, with complete impartiality and fairness, whether or not the network shall be granted a franchise for another twenty-five (25) years,” they added.
Further, the lawmakers said: “We cannot, in good conscience, sweep the accusations under the rug.”
The House of Representatives on Wednesday convened into a Committee of the Whole to tackle the bill.
“When the House constitutes itself into a Committee of the Whole, it functions as one committee acting upon a bill or resolution, and conducting its proceedings like a regular committee with its membership composed of all the Members of the House,” House rule states.
The bill was approved eight days since the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to shut down its broadcast operations after its franchise expired on May 8.
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