ABS-CBN Network would have reopened sooner if only the House of Representatives continued to tackle the temporary franchise bill, rather than abandoning it and opting to proceed with the network’s long-pending application of a new 25-year operating franchise.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, after hours of debates, decided to abandon House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposed provisional franchise granting the media giant a permit to operate until October 31, 2020, despite the fact that it already passed on second reading last week.
During the plenary session, Cayetano said, “I, together with the House of Representatives’ leadership, have decided to forego with the provisional franchise and immediately proceed with the hearings on the full 25-year renewal application of the ABS-CBN franchise.”
For this reason, the biggest broadcast network in the country might stay closed for a longer period of time which will result in millions and millions of company losses that would soon threaten the jobs of the 11 thousand employees of the network.
It can be recalled that ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak warned that the company might consider laying-off employees by the month of August if the network fails to resume its TV and radio broadcast immediately as the company loses 35 million per day since it went off-air on May 5 in compliance with NTC’s cease-and-desist order.
“We continue to lose a substantial amount of money every month and I’m afraid that if we cannot get back on air soon, by August we may already have to consider beginning a retrenchment process,” he said.
Cagayan De Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who supported the temporary franchise bill, admitted that both chambers of Congress were not likely to finish the approval process for a regular franchise in the limited time since they only have 8 session days before they go on a break by June 6.
“I’m afraid of the lack of material time. Kung di matapos by June 3, mahihirapan talaga. Mas matagal nakasara,” Rodriguez explained.
Congress will resume session on July 27 for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address.
Just like Rodriguez, many netizens are also worried that ABS-CBN Network might not be airing in the coming months had Congress failed to approve its franchise renewal application that has been pending for four years.
On Twitter, netizens have mixed reactions regarding the issue. While some hope that the hearing will go smoothly this time, some Twitter users accused Congress of intentionally delaying ABS-CBN’s franchise and a resumption of its TV and radio broadcasts.
— Gene Charles Magistrado (@geniecharlie) May 19, 2020
PATI SKY CABLE PENDING NA SA CONGRESS
ANO NA GANAP NATIN DYAN @alanpcayetano
GANUN KA BUSY KAY KOBE?
OH SUMISIPSIP LANG KAYA KINAKALABAN AT PINAPAHIRAPAN ANG ABS-CBN
— XANDER (@maywardxander) May 19, 2020
I’m really wondering on the TIMING
1. Provisional Franchise-ABS to go on air immediately but then stop.
2. TRO applied by ABS-so they can go on air but then hold-off
3. HOR Hearing-off to 3rd but again stop.
Masyado naman obvious DELAYING TACTICS NYO! 🤬
— M. A. Prianes ♑️ (@MarkPrianes) May 19, 2020
While some believe that lawmakers have no intention at all to give ABS-CBN a new 25-year operating franchise, other netizens insist that the government is using the media giant’s issue to distract people from the real problem of the lack of mass testing for COVID-19.
— jomarie barrientos (@imjomskath) May 19, 2020
I knew it! Pinaasa at nilinlang lang ni Cayetano ang ABSCBN to take the pressure off himself. Now, he will take his sweet time. https://t.co/hXwDL8MItH
— Sonny Trillanes IV (@TrillanesSonny) May 19, 2020
— Kuya M (マロン。ミゲル) (@marlon_g_miguel) May 19, 2020
— george (@george46354651) May 19, 2020