- No committee hearing for ABS-CBN franchise renewal in 2019.
- ABS-CBN franchise set to expire in March 2020.
House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises said they will no longer tackle ABS-CBN franchise bills until the end of 2019.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Committee on Legislative Franchises panel chair Franz Alvarez said they have no scheduled hearing for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise until December of 2019.
Alvarez’s statement came a day after President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out against ABS-CBN anew and threatened to block the renewal of its franchise which will expire in March 2020.
According to Duterte, he will make sure that the Kapamilya network will be out of broadcasting next year.
“Ang inyong franchise mag-end next year. If you are expecting na ma-renew ‘yan, I’m sorry. You’re out. I will see to it that you’re out,” he said.
Meanwhile, although there will be no hearing at the committee level, Speaker Alan Cayetano said that there will be ample time from January to March next year to tackle the issue.
Cayetano said even ABS-CBN management knows that they are prioritizing budget hearings and revenue bills.
“Alam din ito ng management ng ABS-CBN na uunahin namin ang budget at tsaka mga revenue bills, pero we have more than enough time to tackle it in January, February dahil March pa naman ‘yung expiration ng franchise,” Cayetano said.
ABS-CBN’s impending franchise renewal is causing fear and worries to thousand of its employees.
According to labor groups, more than 10 thousand ABS-CBN employees are now in danger of losing their jobs should the network fail to secure a franchise extension next year. Without the franchise, ABS-CBN will be forced to shut down.
“Being vital in operating for the next 25 years, the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN will save the jobs and source of livelihood of more than 10,000 Filipino workers and their families,” said Christian Lloyd Magsoy of Defend Job Philippines.
ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bill has been stalled in congress since 2016.
Currently, several bill have been filed in the House of Representatives seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN franchise for another 25 years. The latest congressmen who joined the calls for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s license to operate are Aurelio Gonzales, Johnny Pimentel, and Doy Leachon all from Duterte’s party PDP-Laban.