A congressman said that ABS-CBN’s shutdown has contributed to the decline of investor confidence in the country’s business climate.
In his interview with Karen Davila on ANC’s Headstart on Tuesday, February 21, Iloilo 3rd District Rep. Lorenz Defensor said the closure of ABS-CBN sent a “bad” message to foreign investors.
“Closing ABS-CBN sent a very bad signal to foreign investors because they had to rely on Congress for their franchise renewal.”
His statement comes from the House of Representatives move to change the constitution, particularly the economic provisions, which aim to encourage more foreign investors into the country.
Defensor added that amending the constitution may help, but attracting investors requires more internal change in how the government runs its institutions, especially in press freedom and honoring contracts.
“Changing the Constitution would change the general framework in which we have to attract investors, but changing internally, how we run the government, how we run our institutions, how we respect freedom of the press, how we respect contracts, malaking bagay ‘yun.
“It remains to be a challenge for the government as well as Congress to improve the business climate.”
ABS-CBN was “forced” to shut down its free-to-air broadcast in May 2020 after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease-and-desist order against the network following the expiration of its franchise.
Subsequently, the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises killed the Kapamilya network’s franchise when 70 Duterte-allied and Alan Cayetano-led congressmen, voted to reject its renewal application.
As early as April 2016, former President Duterte publicly declared his opposition to the network’s franchise renewal, accusing ABS-CBN of biased reporting and swindling after his campaign ads were not shown on the Network.
Although former Palace mouthpiece Atty. Harry Roque has denied, on several occasions, Duterte’s hand in the shutdown, Duterte himself has admitted that he was instrumental in ABS-CBN’s demise.
“Kaya tinira ko talaga sila (ABS-CBN). Talagang I used the presidential powers to tell Congress that you are dealing with scoundrels and if you continue to kowtow with them, kawawa ang Pilipino.”