We're not out of the woods yet
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - February 28, 2020 - 12:00am

In a chance interview with President Duterte last Wednesday, he surprised everyone by saying he has accepted the apology of ABS-CBN. The station’s President and CEO Carlo Katigbak made an opening statement at the Senate last Monday which included the apology. But he was quick to add that the issue of franchise renewal lies in the hands of Congress and nobody else. He even threw shade on the Senate hearing on the same. Duterte added that the P2.6 million for non-aired campaign ads should just be donated to charity. Seems to me he is now washing his hands and leaving it up to his allies.

So the question now is, what will Congress do now that Duterte has forgiven ABS-CBN? Didn't all this talk of not renewing the station's franchise come about with Duterte's threats of doing so? So if he is no longer angry, is there still a need to discuss whether or not the station will be granted a franchise? The same thing can be said of all the motions of Solicitor General Jose Calida to pin down the station.

We're not out of the woods yet. House Speaker Cayetano has yet to say anything good about the station and even downplayed the Senate hearing. He also said he has more "revelations" about the station. But Duterte's forgiveness may change all that. Some lawmakers are hoping that with this new development, Congress can tackle the franchise bill before the Lenten break. Everyone is still holding their breath.

As for COVID-19, Filipino tourists are forbidden to travel to South Korea for now due to the sudden increase in COVID-19 cases there. In Italy cases of COVID-19 are also on the rise, the largest in Europe. The COVID-19 virus is absolutely hitting tourism all over the world. I watched a video of Disneyland parks closed in Beijing and Hong Kong. I would assume there are fewer guests in other amusement parks because of the virus. More than 80,000 people are infected worldwide but the WHO is still saying there is nothing to worry about in spite of continued new cases outside China. China itself reports a decline in the number of new cases, but they're still there.

Business and economics are also hard hit by the virus scare. Airlines have set conditions regarding flying to countries like South Korea. Obviously, the global spread of the virus is through air travel with passengers unknowingly carrying the virus. Even the manufacturing sector is taking a hit. There are talks of shortages of raw materials because Chinese factories have shut down. We must see a decline in the number of new cases from China and all over the world before we can say this is all over. Again, we're not out of the woods yet.


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