Bill seen to solve franchise woes now up for Senate final approval | Inquirer News
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Bill seen to solve franchise woes now up for Senate final approval

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 01:11 PM December 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A measure that seeks the non-expiration of legislative franchises with pending application for renewal in Congress has been approved in the Senate on second reading.

Senate Bill No. 1530, authored by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, is expected to be approved on third and final reading on Thursday, the last day of session before the Senate goes on Christmas break.

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“The amendment we propose would require the concerned agency or branch of government to act decisively on an application for renewal, and to express its decision in clear, unmistakable terms, to ensure that the applicant is not punished for the authority’s indecision or inaction,” Drilon said in a statement on Tuesday.

“SBN 1530 can save jobs and prevent and fix franchise woes caused by the inability of the grantee, in this case Congress, to act on an application for renewal in a timely manner.”

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“It will prevent the repeat of what happened to broadcast network ABS-CBN, a pillar of our media industry and pioneer of many innovations, whose franchise remained in limbo prior to the denial by a House of Representatives panel, in the meantime causing premature loss of 11,000 jobs. It is meant to protect both small and big franchise holders in the event that their franchise is not acted upon immediately,” Drilon further said.

ABS-CBN’s franchise expired on May 4, 2020 while waiting for renewal in Congress. Two months after, the media giant’s application for a 25-year franchise was rejected by the House of Representatives’ committee on legislative franchises.

Drilon’s measure then seeks to amend Section 18, Book VII, Chapter 3 of Revised Administrative Code, which provides for the non-expiration of a license “where the licensee has filed a timely and sufficient application for renewal, until a final determination by the agency is made.”

According to the senator, his amendment would simply expand the provision to also include franchises granted by Congress.

The bill, he said, also hopes to to address the “unfair and iniquitous closure” of operations due to the issuance of cease and desist orders, after the expiration of a franchise pending renewal.

“It is acknowledged that there is a gap in the law in cases as exhibited in cases where a franchisee, having taken all the steps to renew its franchise, is unable to do so not due to its own fault, but due to Congress’ failure to act on the application,” Drilon said.

“As the principle of equity has been deemed insufficient to fill that gap, the timely passage of this measure is in order,” he stressed.

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Drilon noted that Congress, in previous similar situations, has applied considerations of equity.

His bill seeks to institutionalize that practice, the senator said.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, franchise, Franklin Drilon, Legislation, Senate
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