Solon seeks temporary franchise for ABS-CBN

Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2020 10:33 AM

MANILA- A lawmaker is urging Congress to grant ABS-CBN a temporary franchise for 2 months or until the end of the first regular session of the 18th Congress after the country's largest media network was forced off-air.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said Wednesday he would file a joint congressional resolution for a temporary franchise for ABS-CBN until June 30, 2020.

"The remedy is for the House to speed up its hearings on my proposals for a temporary franchise and for the grant of a new 25-year broadcasting service privilege,” he said in a statement.

"I am hoping we can expedite the hearings on this measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic even if we have to hear all stakeholders through the new normal videoconferencing platform,” he added.

Rodriguez previously authored a resolution extending the ABS-CBN franchise for a year but the House of Representatives has yet to act on it.

The National Telecommunications Commission on Tuesday ordered ABS-CBN to “cease and desist” from broadcasting on television and radio, a day after the company’s 25-year operating franchise expired.

Rodriguez said it was unfortunate that the NTC, which regulates radio and television broadcast stations, “chose to ignore the collective voice of the House and the Senate for it to issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN to allow it to pursue its broadcast services.” 

The NTC order comes despite steps taken by Congress leaders to show that they favor the renewal of ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise. 

Lawmakers have maintained they have the sole power to act on franchises such as that of ABS-CBN.