The ANC Brief: House promises to be fair in hearing ABS-CBN franchise


Posted at Feb 12 2020 04:00 AM

Lawmakers are sounding off on the ABS-CBN franchise. And the Philippines has officially ended a long-running agreement with one of its closest allies. Here are the stories making the headlines on ANC today:

Fair hearings
Sen. Tito Sotto and Rep. Tonypet Albano said ABS-CBN can operate even if its franchise lapses. Sen. Koko Pimentel called on the House of Representatives not to sleep on the bills for the franchise. House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano promised hearings on the franchise would be fair. Vice President Leni Robredo said the revocation of ABS-CBN’s franchise would be an abuse of power.

Warm ties
The Philippines has officially terminated the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US. The Palace confirmed the notice of the termination has been signed by Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin and sent to the US. government. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the country is open to sign any defense treaty with other countries. He also sees “warmer ties” with the US. despite the termination of the VFA. In a statement, the US embassy in the Philippines said it views the termination “a serious step with significant implications.”

Taiwan travel ban
The Palace said the travel ban on Taiwan due to fears of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) will stay until it is lifted upon the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO). Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have cancelled flights to Taiwan. The Taiwanese foreign minister called on the Philippines to lift the travel ban. The House of Representatives will hold a hearing on effects of the nCoV to the country’s tourism.

Ironing out the policies
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said the majority of licensed Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) failed to pay P50 billion in taxes in 2019. That’s enough to build around 25,000 classrooms. Sen. Joel Villanueva said he wants operations of POGOs suspended until the government irons out its regulation policies. 

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