MANILA (UPDATE) - ABS-CBN on Monday maintained that it did not violate any of the provisions of its franchise, and emphasized that it operated based on its mission to be in the service of the Filipino people.
In his opening statement at the Senate hearing on the company's alleged franchise violations, ABS-CBN President and Chief Executive Officer Carlo L. Katigbak countered claims that the company violated franchise terms.
"We would also like to state that we have not broken the law or violated any of the provisions of our franchise. We thank the Senate for inviting us today, and we welcome the opportunity to shed light on the issues that have been raised against us," he told Senators.
Katigbak highlighted that the company, while not perfect, has delivered a "meaningful and valuable" service to Filipinos in its 25 years of broadcasting.
"In the last twenty-five years of our existing franchise, we believe we have delivered a service that is meaningful and valuable to the Filipino people," Katigbak said.
"While our commitment to serve is genuine, we also acknowledge that we are not a perfect organization. Where we have shortcomings, we acknowledge them, and work to correct them. May pagkukulang man kami, mas matimbang ang aming adhikain na makapaglingkod," he added.
(Our desire to serve is greater than our shortcomings.)
The largest media broadcasting company in the country is "one of the primary connections" of overseas Filipino workers to the Philippines, Katigbak said.
"More than 3 million individuals tune in to TFC to stay in touch with home, or to help ease the pain of their loneliness and sacrifice," he said.
ABS-CBN also used its resources to "help Filipinos where we can" thorugh its foundation, Katigbak added.
"Bantay Bata has rescued thousands of children from child abuse, and has given them new hope in life. Sagip Kapamilya has provided relief goods to victims of natural or man-made calamities and has provided help to over 12 million families since 2009," he said.
The ABS-CBN chief thanked the company's audience for their support which he said has given ABS-CBN its "strength and courage to face this process."
"Mga Kapamilya, kayo po ang tanging dahilan kung bakit may ABS-CBN. Ang aming inspirasyon ay nagmumula sa pagkakataong magbigay serbisyo sa inyo. Sinisikap namin na lalo pang pagbutihin ang serbisyo sa inyo at sa ating bayan," he said.
(You are the reason why there is ABS-CBN. Our inspiration comes from the opportunity of serving you. We are doing our best to provide better service to you and our nation.)
The House of Representatives has yet to act on several bills seeking to grant a fresh 25-year franchise for ABS-CBN. The company's license to operate expires on March 30, while Congress will adjourn mid-March. The Office of the Solicitor General in February 10 sought to nullify the license, citing violations.
Malacañang earlier said ABS-CBN could file another application for a franchise renewal should the Supreme Court grant the Solicitor General's petition.
President Rodrigo Duterte has criticized ABS-CBN for its alleged failure to air his campaign ad during the 2016 presidential campaign. Last December, Duterte urged the owners of ABS-CBN to just sell the company.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's vice presidential running mate and former foreign secretary, earlier said tackling the ABS-CBN franchise renewal was "not that urgent."
News.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.