House panel begins process on ABS-CBN franchise with acceptance of pro, anti position papers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2020 07:19 AM | Updated as of Feb 24 2020 08:02 AM

Employees and supporters of ABS-CBN Corp. gather in front of the network's headquarters in Quezon City on February 21, 2020 to show support and call on congress to renew the broadcaster's franchise. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises on Monday broke his silence on ABS-CBN Corp's franchise renewal as he said the panel would begin proceedings on the matter.

Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez, chairman of the committee, said he would order the panel's secretary to collect the position papers of lawmakers who support and oppose the network's franchise renewal.

Further details will be announced in the committee's hearings later Monday, he said.

"Pagkatapos ng konsultasyon natin kay Speaker Cayetano at sa ibang liderato, umpisahan ngayong araw yung proceedings," he told Umagang Kay Ganda.

(After consulting with Speaker Cayetano and other leaders, we will begin the proceedings today.)

"Pagkakuha ko ng position papers, pag-aaralan. Tulad ng sinabi ni Speaker Cayetano May o August po talaga. Marami po ito hindi po kayang matapos agad."

(After getting the position papers, we will study it. Like Speaker Cayetano said, we can tackle it May or August. These are many so we can't finish it right away.)

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Alvarez added that the chamber is coordinating with the National Telecommunications Commission to ensure that ABS-CBN can continue its broadcast operations until its franchise renewal bid is being tackled in Congress.

"Naging practice po yan na kahit po naglapse ang buhay ng franchise ng network, habang dinidinig po yan ay pinapabayan po yan ng NTC kasi dinidinig naman po ang renewal," he said.

(It's become a practice that even if the franchise had lapsed, the NTC allows it to continue to operate until its franchise renewal is being heard.)

The development comes after the Senate set a hearing Monday to discuss the network's compliance to its franchise. The company's license to operate expires on March 30, while Congress will adjourn mid-March. 

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