FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano stars Coco Martin and Angel Aquino together with other entertainment artists urged Congress to start deliberating on the franchise renewal bills of ABS-CBN.
The group of Pinoy entertainment workers has sent House Committee on Legislative Franchises Chair and Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez a letter urging the Congress to immediately act on the pending bills seeking the renewal of the Kapamilya network’s franchise.
In their January 27 letter signed by Coco Martin, Angel Aquino, Jaime Fabregas, Joel Lamangan, Bituin Escalante, Pinky Amador, Jun Sabayton, Mae Paner, Ricky Lee, Tetchie Agbayani, and the group’s coordinator, filmmaker Malu Maniquis, the group brought up the anxiety and fear among ABS-CBN employees who are now facing an uncertain future with the network’s franchise still hanging on the air.
“Meanwhile, thousands of our fellow Filipinos are suffering from anxiety, fearing an uncertain future,” they said, appealing to the committee to consider the company’s 11,000 employees, as well as the “18 million poor Filipinos who rely on free TV and radio.
“We believe that the Committee knows that the House of Representatives, having the sole jurisdiction of granting or canceling a legislative franchise, is also in the best position to deliberate on whatever violations the franchisee may have committed and not any other branch of government, even if it is the Office of the President because Congress has to protect its integrity as a co-equal branch of government,” they said.
They also added that the issue should not be about the owners of the Philippine’s largest media company but the future and lives of people employed by the network.
“This matter is not about who owns the station, or who may be a better owner of this franchise. Let us not gamble people’s lives and future; nor the right of people to information and communication at a time when our country is confronted with so many problems. We want to believe that the good congressman and his co-members are imbued with a deep sense of obligation towards their constituency, the Filipino People,” they added.
Currently, there are already 9 bills filed in Congress aiming to renew ABS-CBN’s license to operate.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano already assured ABS-CBN and its supporters that there is still enough time to tackle the franchise renewal.
Prior to the artists group, journalist groups led by NUJP have also called on Congress to act on the pending franchise renewal bills. They’ve also staged several black Friday protests and a signature campaign aiming to get more public support for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.