'Fighting for its life': Retired ABS-CBN general manager pleads for franchise renewal


Posted at Jun 17 2020 07:07 PM

'Fighting for its life': Retired ABS-CBN general manager pleads for franchise renewal 1
Lawyer Augusto “Jake” Almeda Lopez speaks during the resumption of the House hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise, in Quezon City on June 17, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Former ABS-CBN General Manager Jake Almeda Lopez urged a joint House panel hearing the network's franchise application to recognize the contributions of the broadcast company and its workers and talents to society. 

Almeda Lopez said that ABS-CBN was not just the Lopez family, but also its 11,000 workers, over 600 artists, and its charitable foundation.

The retired ABS-CBN executive also said that Congress would be depriving Filipinos of “half of the potential entertainment and news” as the network is one of 2 major broadcasters in the Philippines. 

The company's charitable organization like ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya has initiatives such as Bantay Bata. ABS-CBN staff are also first-responders in times of emergencies, and the company has raised funds for affected families during calamities, he said.

“I mention this because ABS-CBN is fighting for its life. I think it’s my responsibility as a senior member of this company to explain to the members of this Congress that I think we really deserve the renewal of our franchise,” Almeda Lopez said.

“And that if you don't renew our franchise, you are going to deprive the public of so much entertainment news and more or less the building of culture.”

“My plea is this that Congress recognize the value of ABS-CBN, recognize the contribution of the 11,000 employees of ABS-CBN, and the contribution of ABS-CBN to the television industry in general.” 

Almeda Lopez is not related to the Lopez family, but was general manager of ABS-CBN in 1966 until the station was shut down when dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial Law in 1972. 

Almeda Lopez was jailed during martial law, but escaped to the United States. He returned to the country before the EDSA uprising and was imprisoned again by Marcos. 

Earlier during the hearing, Almeda Lopez also testified on the legality of the Lopez family’s reacquisition of ABS-CBN via an agreement with the post-EDSA government of President Corazon Aquino. 

Lawmakers opposing the granting of a new franchise to ABS-CBN claim that the Lopez family did not follow “proper processes” when they reacquired the company. 

But others who support ABS-CBN’s bid for a franchise say this issue has long been resolved. 

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