Sotto files fresh bill to revive ABS-CBN franchise
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a measure seeking to renew the legislative franchise of television giant ABS-CBN.
In filing Senate Bill No. 1967 on Monday, Sotto cited the importance of television as the main source of information for most Filipinos as shown in a September 2020 Social Weather Station (SWS) survey that said 69 percent or 45.8 million adults use television as a primary source of news.
ABS-CBN’s broadcast operations were ordered shut on May 5, 2020, following the expiration of its legislative franchise, in compliance with the closure order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
Breaking: SP Sotto filed SB1967 – An act renewing the franchise granted to ABS-CBN Corp.
In July 2020, the House of Representatives’ committee on legislative franchises voted overwhelmingly to deny ABS-CBN’s bid for a fresh 25-year franchise, an outcome that President Rodrigo Duterte had promised would happen because of the network’s failure to air his 2016 presidential election campaign advertisement and its supposed biased reporting.
According to Sotto, ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal has a “better chance” now with the change in House composition.
“New (House) Speaker, new officers. (There) could be a better chance,” Sotto said in a text message.
He added: “I noticed the TV stations have been replacing their news programs with Animes. It means competition is absent and mediocrity is creeping in because of the absence of a strong competitor like ABS-CBN.”
Asked if he has discussed the measure to leaders of both houses of Congress, the Senate President said he is “still in the process of getting a consensus.”
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