Santos-Recto cites ABS-CBN's commitment to deliver quality shows in filing franchise bill

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2021 08:37 PM

Batangas representative Vilma Santos-Recto during a joint session of Congress at the House of Representatives on July 22, 2017. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - ABS-CBN continues to deliver quality shows to the Filipino audience even as social media has become popular, Batangas 6th District Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto said in the bill she filed early this month seeking to grant the network a new 25-year broadcast franchise.

"Despite the growing popularity of social media, television still remains as a preferred mass medium in our province and other far-flung areas," Santos-Recto said in the explanatory note of her House Bill No. 8298.

"ABS-CBN has remained steadfast in its commitment to reach out to as many Filipinos as possible by delivering their quality core program closer to our countrymen by taking advantage of emerging broadcast technologies," she added.

The bill was filed last Jan. 5, but its copy was only released to the media on Monday.

Santos-Recto, an award-winning actress, was in favor of granting ABS-CBN a new franchise when the House Committee on Legislative Franchises tackled bills for it last year. Seventy lawmakers outnumbered those who were in favor.

On Jan. 4, Sen. Vicente Sotto III filed a similar proposal, Senate Bill No. 196, in the Senate.

Reacting to Sotto's measure, Santos-Recto said then she will replicate the move in a bid to rebuild the economy.

"Through this bill, we will be creating jobs (so many people do not have jobs today) and help promote healthy competition among the networks. Most importantly, 'di mapagkakaila ang far reach ng ABS-CBN in the regions during calamities," she said in a statement at that time.

The Constitution requires that franchise bills must originate from the House of Representatives.

Before the denial in July last year of ABS-CBN's new franchise application, President Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly threatened to shut down the network for supposedly failing to air some of his presidential campaign advertisements in 2016 and accommodating one that was critical of him and was paid for by his critic, former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

He had also urged the network's executives to just sell ABS-CBN's assets to other businessmen.

ABS-CBN's previous franchise expired on May 4 even as bills seeking to grant it a new 25-year license to broadcast have been filed at the House of Representatives as early as 2014.

During the franchise bill hearings last year, relevant government agencies cleared ABS-CBN of alleged irregularities and delinquencies.

Aside from affecting the livelihood of the company's more than 11,000 workers amid a bruised economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the shutdown of ABS-CBN is also seen by various sectors as curtailment of the people's right to information, as well as of press freedom.

news.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.

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