Manila bishop urges lawmakers to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise


Posted at Jul 05 2020 02:33 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2020 02:35 PM

Bishop Broderick Pabillo delivers homily in Quiapo Church in Manila on Labor Day, May 1, 2018. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A Manila bishop on Sunday urged lawmakers to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise to help provide information to the public.

The network was forced to go off air in May after the National Telecommunications Commission went back on its word to allow ABS-CBN to continue its operations beyond its lapsed franchise while Congress tackles its new franchise application.

The NTC also shut down ABS-CBN’s digital broadcast on TVPlus in Metro Manila, and SKY’s satellite broadcast nationwide last week.

"Nanawagan po ako sa mga Kongresista na boboto sa franchise ng ABS-CBN: Ito po ay kailangan ng mga tao, lalong lalo na sa panahon ngayon na kailangang kailangan nila ng balita, ng mga pahayag at entertainment sa panahong ito na may community quarantine dahil sa pandemic," Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo told Radio Veritas.

(I am calling on congressmen who will vote on ABS-CBN's franchise to realize that the people needs the network, especially now that they need news and entertainment in this time of community quarantine due to the pandemic.)

"Hinihiling po namin na sana hanapin ng mga kongresista ang ikabubuti sa pangkalahatan at hindi ang political agenda ng mga namumuno."

(We are asking lawmakers to decide for the greater good and not for the political agenda of those in power.)

Pabillo said lawmakers are using the network's franchise issues as a "political tool" to control the media.

"Kaya dapat po sana, ang mga kongresista ay panindigan nila ang tungkulin sa bayan at hindi po sa mga namumuno ng bansa," he said.

(Lawmakers should stand by their duty to the nation and not to its leaders.)

Lawmakers are set to tackle Monday the alleged biased reporting of ABS-CBN, the last issue surrounding its franchise.

The network, which has some 11,000 workers to include those from its subsidiaries, has asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the NTC's shutdown order. The high court will tackle the pleading on July 13.

The SC earlier dismissed the Office of the Solicitor General's quo warranto petition questioning ABS-CBN Corp's previous franchise, for being "moot and academic." The network's last franchise expired on May 4. is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.