'Provisional' ABS-CBN franchise proposal dropped; House to tackle bills on 25-year grant

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
'Provisional' ABS-CBN franchise proposal dropped; House to tackle bills on 25-year grant
This view shows the ABS-CBN network headquarters in Quezon City in the Metro Manila area on May 5, 2020.
AFP / Maria Tan

MANILA, Philippines — The House will tackle proposals for a 25-year legislative franchise—instead of the five-month provisional one that it approved then withdrew—for ABS-CBN, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig) said.

Addressing the House in plenary on Tuesday, the House speaker said: “I, together with the House of Representatives leadership, have decided to forego the provisional franchise and immediately proceed with the hearings for the full 25-year renewal application of the ABS-CBN franchise."

Cayetano asked Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), chair of the House committee on legislative franchises, to conduct a fair and comprehensive hearing on ABS-CBN franchise bills.

“Let us direct our committee to immediately and continuously hold hearings until everyone is heard,” he said.

The House speaker however has yet to set a day when the House committee on legislative franchise will conduct the hearing.

This was after the House recalled its approval of House Bill 6732 on second reading that proposes a franchise for the embattled network only  until October 31, 2020.

The short-term franchise was meant to give lawmakers time to hold hearings on the network's franchise

Layoffs loom at ABS-CBN

Earlier at the Senate, ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak said that the network may resort to retrenching some of its workers in August if it can't resume its free channel and radio broadcast operations soon.

READ: Layoffs loom at ABS-CBN by August if broadcast not resumed

Meanwhile, the network has yet to secure a temporary restraining order from the SC against the National Telecommunications Commission’s Cease and Desist Order.

The SC, in a full court session, directed the NTC, Senate and Congress to answer ABS-CBN’s Petition for Certiorari in ten days.

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