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House committee rejects ABS-CBN’s bid to renew franchise

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises on Friday has voted to reject the franchise application of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, after weeks of deliberations.

The committee voted to “deny the application of ABS-CBN Corporation for a franchise to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines”.

Out of the panel members and ex-officio members present, 70 voted yes, 11 said no, with two inhibitions and one abstention.

It created a Technical Working Group (TWG) to discuss the findings and recommend a decision of the Committee on the application of the shuttered network.

In the findings that led to the resolution on July 10, it says, “By no means can this franchise application be related to press freedom.”

“It is what it is–a denial of a privilege granted by the State because the applicant was seen as undeserving of the grant of a legislative franchise,” it added.

The decision came out more than two months after the network went off air on May 5 following the cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission.

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City

COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE FRANCHISES

EIGHTEENTH CONGRESS
First Regular Session

COMMITTEE RESOLUTION DENYING THE FRANCHISE APPLICATION OF ABS-CBN CORPORATION TO CONSTRUCT, INSTALL, ESTABLISH, OPERATE AND MAINTAIN RADIO AND BROADCASTING STATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES

WHEREAS, Republic Act (RA) No. 7966 granted ABS-CBN Corporation (formerly ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation) a franchise to construct, operate and maintain television and radio broadcasting stations throughout the Philippines;

WHEREAS, prior to expiration of RA No. 7966 on 05 May 2020, several House Bills and House Resolutions were filed including House Bill Nos. 676, 3521, 3713, 3947, 4305, 5608, 5705, 5753, 6052, 6138, 6293 and 6694, and House Resolution Nos. 639 and 853 relative to the grant or renewal of ABS-CBN Corporation’s franchise;

WHEREAS, the Committee on Legislative Franchises sought the position of the stakeholders, relevant government agencies and constituencies on the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation;

WHEREAS, the Committee on Legislative Franchises conducted its initial hearing on March 10, 2020 and the Joint Committees on Legislative Franchises and Good Government and Public Accountability conducted extensive hearings from May 26 to July 9, 2020 to discuss the various issues raised against ABS-CBN Corporation;

WHEREAS, the Committee on Legislative Franchises created a Technical Working Group (TWG) to discuss the findings and recommend a decision of the Committee on Legislative Franchises on the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation;

WHEREAS, the TWG, after due consideration of the testimonies, documents, submissions and arguments has come up with its findings and recommendations contained in the TWG Report;

WHEREAS, the TWG recommended to deny the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation and the Committee on Legislative Franchises to adopt its recommendation;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the members of the Committee on Legislative Franchises deny the application of ABS-CBN Corporation for a franchise to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines;

RESOLVED FURTHER that, pursuant to Section 49 of the 18th Congress Rules of the House of Representatives, all of the House Bills and House Resolutions relative to the grant or renewal of the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation are hereby laid on the table; and the authors thereof shall be notified in writing and, as far as practicable, through electronic mail of the action within five (5) days stating the reason(s) thereof.

Adopted.

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