This July 23, 2018 photo shows President Rodrigo Duterte greeting some members of the 17th Congress upon his arrival at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives Complex in Constitution Hills, Quezon City.
Presidential photo/King Rodriguez
‘Be independent’: Journalists ask Congress to pass ABS-CBN franchise renewal bill
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - December 6, 2019 - 10:53am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines on Friday called on Congress to pass the legislative franchise renewal of broadcasting giant ABS-CBN.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s vow of blocking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise has become “more than another idle threat,” which puts the ball clearly in Congress’ court, NUJP said.

“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines urges the legislature to uphold its independence and pass the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN,” the organization said.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano—who earlier said he has a “personal complaint” against the television network—said the lower chamber would not be deliberating bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise for the rest of 2019.

Cayetano, an ally of the president, said legislators have “more than enough time” to tackle the proposed measure in January and February of next year.

ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise expires on March 30, 2020, at which point their radio and broadcast operations will have to shut down if no renewal is approved.

Early this week, Duterte, who has the power to veto bills that Congress approves, said the franchise will not be renewed.

NUJP said between 10,000 and 11,000 who depend on ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries or sister companies for their bread and butter will lose their jobs or will indirectly be dislocated once the company’s franchise is denied.

“Do not allow one man’s vindictiveness displace thousands of workers, including journalists and artists, and spell the end for freedom of the press and of expression,” the organization said.

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