- HOR and Senate filed joint resolution extending ABS-CBN’s franchise.
National Economic Development Authority Secretary Ernesto Pernia said it will be detrimental to the country’s investment climate if ever a large TV network like ABS-CBN would be shutdown.
When asked about effects in investor confidence should the Kapamilya network fail to renew its franchise, Pernia believed there would be repercussions since the media giant is very popular.
“I guess so, I suppose so. Because investors realize that it’s very popular, it’s wanted by so many people,” Pernia answered.
While the NEDA Chief distanced himself with the politics involved in the franchise renewal, as an economist and academician he said he “will always favor more diversity, more openness, [and] progressive ideas.”
Pernia is the first ranking cabinet official who openly expressed an opinion contrary to the President’s position.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has been vocal on several occasions about not renewing ABS-CBN’s franchise because of personal issues.
Meanwhile, 11 of the franchise renewal bills filed in Congress are still pending at the committee level.
Recently, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the Congress is very busy with other matters thus they cannot schedule the deliberations for the ABS-CBN franchise. Cayetano also said the Kapamilya network’s issue is not an urgent matter because they can still operate until the end of the 18th Congress in 2022.
“Hindi [ito] ganoon ka-urgent. Bakit? Kasi hanggang March 2022, pwedeng mag-operate,” he said.
Meanwhile, AKO-Bicol Partylist Rep. and Justice Committee Vice-Chair Alfredo Garbin Jr, made a proposal to Congress for a joint resolution asking the National Telecommunication Commission to allow ABS-CBN to operate until there is a final verdict on its franchise renewal.
Garbin made the proposal following Sen. Grace Poe’s proposition for lawmakers to translate into writing their pronouncements that ABS-CBN can continue its operation while its franchise renewal is pending.
According to Garbin, the resolution would assure the more than 11 thousand workers of the Kapamilya network of their jobs.
“It will also assure the 11,000 workers at ABS-CBN that they still have jobs up until both Houses of Congress have decided on the matter with finality,” he said.
“[It] would give clarity and substance to the emerging consensus that ABS-CBN can continue to operate while the franchise bills are pending in the 18th Congress based on precedents,” he added.
Aside from the House of Representatives, a similar resolution was filed in the Senate by Sen. Franklin Drilon.
Drilon on Monday, February 17 filed a joint resolution seeking to extend ABS-CBN’s franchise until December 2022.
For Drilon, the passage of the resolution would give ABS-CBN the legal basis to operate since their only basis now is their franchise which will expire on March 30, 2020.
“It is almost certain that on April 1, 2020, the Solicitor General will question the continued operation of ABS-CBN with the expiration of the franchise,” said Drilon
“If you do not do this (filing of joint resolution), in 6 weeks time the continued existence of ABS-CBN is open to question,” he added