ABS-CBN can re-apply for franchise under Duterte admin if House rejects bid: solon
ABS-CBN Corp. can again seek a franchise during President Rodrigo Duterte's administration if its application is rejected on Friday by a House committee, a lawmaker said.
Over 90 members and ex-officio members of the House franchise committee on Friday afternoon are expected to vote on the network's franchise, with the jobs of its 11,000 workers on the line.
"ABS-CBN is not precluded from filing another application for franchise. Once there's a sponsor, even if it is within the same Congress that rejects its franchise, hindi naman ipinagbabawal iyan (that is not prohibited)," said Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate.
But if lawmakers reject its franchise application, the National Telecommunications Commission can assign ABS-CBN's frequency to another entity, he said.
"'Pag nag-apply siya ulit ng prangkisa, either within this 18th Congress or thereafter, magsisimula siya sa una dahil kumbaga, meron kang prangkisa, wala ka naman magamit na frequency. Hahanapan ka pa ng available frequency," he told ANC.
(If it re-applies for a franchise either within this 18th Congress or thereafter, it will start from scratch because you could have a license, yet no frequency you can use. Regulators will have to find an available frequency for you.)
"Sa Metro Manila, sagad na ang frequency d'yan. That's why I will not be surprised na talagang may mga interesado doon sa frequency ng ABS-CBN because of its strategic importance sa economy, business, even sa pulitika," he added.
(The frequency here in Metro Manila is already full. That's why I will not be surprised if there are parties interested in the ABS-CBN frequency because of its strategic importance on economy, business, even politics.)
Over 90 members and ex-officio members of the House franchise committee will decide on the network's franchise, said Zarate, who urged House leaders to allow the plenary, or the whole chamber, to vote.
"Some of the members of the House, mayroon din silang mga constituencies na nananawagang ibalik ang ABS-CBN (they have constituencies who are appealing for ABS-CBN's return)... Only problem is they cannot vote," he said.
"If we are really the representatives of the people, allow the majority of the representatives of our people to say their piece in the plenary," he added.
The NTC on May 5 shut down ABS-CBN's free television and radio services, day after its franchise expired. This is despite the commission's commitment to lawmakers in March that it would let the network operate beyond May 4 while Congress had yet to decide on its license.
ANC, July 10, 2020
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