Duterte to firms: No franchise until you settle your accounts with gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said he would not allow any company to benefit from its franchise unless it had settled its obligations with the government.
“There will be no opening. I assure you, all franchises will not be implemented. I will not implement them until they settle their full accounts with the government,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino, during a meeting with select Cabinet officials.
“For all I care, you can have a thousand franchises. You will not see the light until you come to government with clean hands,” he added.
The President did not identify which company he was referring to. But he made this announcement after Batangas 6th District Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto filed a bill seeking the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise for 25 years.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III had also filed a similar measure to renew the franchise of the television giant.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the closure of ABS-CBN’s broadcast operations on May 5 last year following the expiration of its franchise.
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 Duterte had promised would happen because of the network’s failure to air his 2016 presidential election campaign advertisement and its supposed biased reporting.
During the congressional hearings for ABS-CBN’s franchise last year, relevant government agencies cleared the television giant of alleged irregularities.
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