Sixteen out of 24 senators are now supporting the revival of media giant ABS-CBN.
Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III, revived the issue by filing Senate Bill No. 1967, calling for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise, which expired in May 2020.
Sotto’s Senate Bill No. 1967 seeks to grant ABS-CBN, the largest broadcaster in the Philippines, a fresh franchise after the House Panel rejected its request for a new franchise.
Sotto said that his decision to request the renewal of ABS-franchise CBN’s was triggered by the mediocre news programming of other TV stations.
“I noticed the TV stations have been replacing their news programs with animes. It means competition is absent and mediocrity is creeping in because of the absence of a strong competitor like ABS-CBN.”
Sotto also reiterated and didn’t deny ABS CBN’s wide reach and advantages when it comes it broadcast media operations.
“ABS-CBN’s wide reach to Filipinos, alongside with the undeniable advantages of broadcast media relative to mass communication, definitely call for the immediate renewal of the network’s franchise.”
The 15 co-authors of Sotto’s bill are Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Sonny Angara, Senator Nancy Binay, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Senator Richard Gordon, Senator Lito Lapid, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Senator Joel Villanueva, Senator Risa Hontiveros, Senator Francis Pangilinan, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Senator Leila de Lima.
The Senate Committee on Public Services Chair Grace Poe said that her panel would give the franchise bill the “utmost priority,” noting that thousands of Filipinos rely on ABS-CBN for information, even though she didn’t sign the bill.
“Given the crippling effects of the ABS-CBN shutdown and the need for more news outlets with the widest reach during the raging pandemic, the issue will be given utmost priority as soon as it is referred to the Committee on Public Service.”