The House of Representatives is set to discuss bills granting ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise on May 26.
The said hearing will be held via a virtual conference at 9:30 in the morning.
“They will not stop until they are finished so that no one can say we’re stopping the process or dragging our feet,” House Speaker Alan Cayetano said.
Cayetano also said the committee will hold two to three hearings a week while key witnesses and resource persons would be required to physically appear during the hearings, provided that social distancing and other health protocols are followed.
The House Speaker also said that there are “no more than 10 issues” that will be tackled in the hearings which include ABS-CBN’s alleged violations of tax and labor laws, breaches of the terms and conditions of its previous broadcast privilege, and Filipino ownership and foreign citizenship issues.
“I foresee that the hearings would not go beyond July, and by August, after President Duterte’s SONA (State of the Nation Address), we should be ready to decide,” he said.
The House of Representatives decided to abandon House Bill No. 6732 or 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. Instead, they are now pushing through with tackling bill seeking to grant the network a long term 25-year franchise.
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 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.