Closing ABS-CBN sent a 'bad signal' to investors about business climate in PH - solon


Posted at Feb 21 2023 07:00 PM

 ABS-CBN News/File
The ABS-CBN compound lights up in the network’s colors on May 5, 2021, a year after the country's telecoms body shut down ABS-CBN's free TV and radio operations. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Closing ABS-CBN sent a bad signal to investors about the business climate in the Philippines, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

Iloilo 3rd District Rep. Lorenz Defensor made the remark amid efforts in the House of Representatives to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, which he said is part of the solution to improve the business climate in the country.

"Closing ABS-CBN sent a very bad signal to foreign investors because they had to rely on Congress for their franchise renewal," he told ANC's "Headstart".

Defensor, senior vice chairperson of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, sees the need to change the business climate, as well as the system itself, in order to open the country's economy to more foreign investments.

"Changing the Constitution would change the general framework in which we have to attract investors but changing internally, how we run the government, how we run our institutions, how we respect freedom of the press, how we respect contracts, malaking bagay 'yun," he said.

"It remains to be a challenge for the government as well as Congress to improve the business climate."

This comes as a panel at the lower House approves a resolution calling for the creation of a constitutional convention to amend the 1987 charter.

The move advances attempts by congressional leaders to amend what they deemed as restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. 

But a NEDA official, at a House hearing, admitted amending the charter may cost the government up to P28 billion.

In July 2020, a House of Representatives panel denied ABS-CBN's application of a new franchise despite being cleared by regulatory agencies. 

As a result, ABS-CBN shut down its free TV and radio operations while thousands of its employees lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte had said many times in public speeches that he would see to it that ABS-CBN, which he believes offended him through the non-airing of some of his pre-paid political ads as well as the airing of a critical ad in the 2016 presidential campaign, halts operations.

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