House lawmaker files bill renewing ABS-CBN franchise

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Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto has filed a bill in the House of Representatives that would grant ABS-CBN Corp. a fresh 25-year legislative franchise.

A copy of House Bill No. 8298 was obtained by the media on January 18 after its first reading during the plenary session.

In her explanatory note, Santos said that ABS-CBN’s franchise should be renewed considering that television still remains as a “preferred mass medium in provinces and other far-flung areas despite the growing popularity of social media.

“ABS-CBN has remained steadfast in its commitment to reach out to as many Filipinos as possible by delivering their quality core programs closer to our countrymen by taking advantage of emerging broadcast technologies,” she said.

To recall, Congress rejected the network’s application on its franchise renewal before its expiration date on May 4, 2020.

ABS-CBN, upon the directive of the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) shutdown order, ceased its broadcast operations on May 5, 2020.

In July last year, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises approved – by a 70-11 vote, with one abstention – the resolution denying the franchise application of the network to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines. Two other lawmakers inhibited from voting.

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