SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Folllowing the assurances made by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano that ABS-CBN Corporation will be able to continue their broadcast while Congress is deliberating on the renewal of its franchise, House Committee on Legislative Franchise Chair Franz Alvarez has sent a letter to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner enjoining the agency to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate effective from May 4, 2020 until such time that the Congress has made a decision on its application.
The ABS-CBN franchise is set to expire on May 4, 2020, because RA 7966 stipulates that the franchise has become effective 15 days from the date of its publication, which was April 19,1995.
Cong. Alvarez and Speaker Cayetano informed the NTC that the House Committee on Legislative Franchises has started deliberating on ABS-CBN Corporation’s (ABS-CBN) application for the renewal of its franchise. They noted that the said Committee has instructed all interested parties to submit their position papers for or against ABS-CBN’s application within a period of sixty (60) days from Feb 24,2020.
The letter underscored that the House of Representatives has the exclusive original jurisdiction and authority to act on franchise applications.
Speaker Cayetano also reiterated his earlier stand that Congress will prioritize more urgent measures concerning the rehabilitation of Batangas, the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the creation of the Departments of OFWs and Disaster Resilience, as well as several revenue measures being pushed by the Duterte administration that will help bring in millions of new jobs.
“As we have been saying from the start, since ABS-CBN will be allowed to continue its broadcast while we are hearing their renewal, there is no urgency that would justify a hasty proceeding. We want to be sure that this matter is given the importance it deserves,” says Cayetano.
In the same letter, the two House leaders enjoin the NTC to grant ABS-CBN Corporation’s subsidiaries and /or affiliates, whose franchise applications are pending deliberation with the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, the same provisional authority.
The said subsidiaries and/or affiliates are the following: 1) ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc., 2) Sky Cable Corporation, and 3) Amcara Broadcasting Network, Inc.
They urged NTC to include in the respective provisional authorities terms and conditions that the agency deems appropriate to protect public interest consistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.