House leader to NTC: Allow ABS-CBN to operate while solons tackle franchise bills


Posted at Mar 10 2020 01:57 PM | Updated as of Mar 10 2020 03:01 PM

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MANILA — The chairperson of the House legislative franchises committee on Tuesday urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) anew to allow ABS-CBN Corp to continue its operations while lawmakers tackle the renewal of its broadcast license. 

The panel earlier wrote to the NTC asking it to issue the country's largest media and entertainment company a "provisional" permit to operate past its franchise expiration on May 4. 

"We also want to restate our letter to the NTC that while deliberation of the franchise renewal bills is pending at the Congress, that ABS-CBN be allowed to continue their operations," House committee on legislative franchises chair Franz Alvarez said in a meeting of his panel. 

Alvarez's committee met Tuesday "to come up and agree with the ground rules we'll be using during the deliberation" of ABS-CBN franchise bills, said the lawmaker. 

"We know that emotions run high in the issue of the renewal application. We are doing this meeting to be fair and objective in our deliberations as we treat the ABS-CBN as a very significant player in the broadcast industry," Alvarez said. 

"We may expect some members to become emotional on the matter at hand and setting up ground rules will ensure orderly proceedings in our hearings," he added. 

The committee will accept position papers for and against ABS-CBN's franchise renewal until April 15, said Alvarez. 

Seven organizations, a regulatory agency, a local government unit, and 2 individuals have submitted their position papers so far, he said. 

ABS-CBN is also facing a quo warranto challenge lodged before the Supreme Court by Solicitor General Jose Calida. The government's lead lawyer is seeking to nullify ABS-CBN's franchise due to alleged abuses like illegal pay-per-view offering and foreign ownership. 

The network, which reaches millions of Filipinos through its television, radio and online platforms, said it has not violated the law in its 65-year service. 

Watch a livestream of the House committee on legislative franchises' meeting here: 

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