Bill renewing ABS-CBN franchise refiled in House

MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to renew the franchise given to ABS-CBN Corporation for another 25 years was refiled in the House of Representatives. 

Nueva Ecija 2nd District Representative Micaela Violago filed House Bill (HB) No. 676, which would allow ABS-CBN to continue its operations in the Philippines for over two more decades.

ABS-CBN's current franchise, which was approved through Republic Act No. 7966 on March 30, 1995, is set to expire on March 30, 2020. If HB No. 676 does not become a law, ABS-CBN will have to close down its radio and television operations.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself has repeatedly opposed the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise.

In April 2017, he accused the network of "swindling" him for not airing his paid political advertisements during the 2016 presidential campaign. Duterte first publicly threatened ABS-CBN days after he signed into law the franchise renewal of the network's rival, GMA Network.

Duterte then repeated his threat to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise in August 2018. (READ: Duterte: If it were up to me, no ABS-CBN franchise renewal

In the previous 17th Congress, a bill seeking to renew the franchise was filed, but it remained pending with the committee on legislative franchises and was not passed when the 17th Congress closed session in June.  

With its current franchise set to expire by next year, ABS-CBN will have to convince the 18th Congress to pass its franchise renewal into law before March 2020 ends. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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