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ABS-CBN may extend operations until July 15

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Broadcast giant ABS-CBN may further extend its operations until July of this year amidst the impending expiration of its current legislative franchise by the end of March.

Unknown to many, ABS-CBN’s Sports and Action (S+A) channel has a different legislative franchise tool which is set to expire on July 15 this year under Republic Act No. 8135.

In October 2010, ABS-CBN formally acquired the former Studio 23 channel from AMCARA Broadcasting Network and later rebranded it in 2014 as S+A after Congress then concurred to its acquisition.

The Kapamilya network can further operate until middle of July 2020, even its current franchise under Republic Act No. 7969 expires on March 30, since the media conglomerate can use the remaining shelf life of its sister station’s air waves to continue operating on a borrowed time while pursuing to secure a brand new legislative franchise from Congress.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman earlier said ABS-CBN needs to secure franchise renewal within 24 session days or face closure, considering that there are only two dozen session days before the Congressional recess from March 14 up to May 3 for the long Holy Week break.

Politiko learned from Congressional insiders that they were told by some network executives of the Lopez-owned media outfit that the company will temporarily transfer its news and entertainment broadcast to S+A by the end of March, hoping that it can secure a fresh 25-year franchise from Congress before the first regular session adjourns sine die sometime in June.

Lagman on Monday filed a resolution urging the House Committee on Legislative Franchises to immediately expedite without further delay for plenary action nine pending proposed legislations that seek to grant ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year franchise.

Lagman’s House Resolution No. 639 urged the legislative franchise panel headed by Palawan Rep. Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez “to act immediately on the bills renewing the giant network’s franchise.”

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