House panel ask NTC to grant provisional authority to ABS-CBN to operate
By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
House Committee on Legislative Franchise chair Franz Alvarez urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant a provisional authority to operate to embattled broadcast giant ABS-CBN until such time that the Congress has made a decision on its application.
Alvarez’s action came following the assurances made by the House leadership that the Lopez-led media conglomerate will be able to continue their broadcast while Congress is deliberating on the renewal of its congressional franchise.
In his letter to NTC, Alvarez urged the agency to grant the Kapamilya network a provisional authority to operate effective starting May 4, 2020.
The ABS-CBN franchise is set to expire on May 4, 2020, because Republic Act 7966 stipulates that the franchise has become effective 15 days from the date of its publication, which was April 19, 1995.
Alvarez and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano informed the NTC that the former’s panel has started deliberating on ABS-CBNs for the renewal of its franchise.
They noted that the said committee has instructed all interested parties to submit their position papers for or against ABS-CBN’s application within a period of sixty 60 days from Feb 24, 2020.
The letter underscored that the House of Representatives has “the exclusive original jurisdiction and authority to act on franchise applications.”
“Since ABS-CBN will be allowed to continue its broadcast while we are hearing their renewal, there is no urgency that would justify a hasty proceeding. We want to be sure that this matter is given the importance it deserves,” said Cayetano.
In the same letter, the two House leaders enjoin the NTC to grant ABS-CBN Corporation’s subsidiaries and /or affiliates, whose franchise applications are pending deliberation with Alvarez’s panel, the same provisional authority.
The said subsidiaries and/or affiliates of Lopez-owned firm include ABS-CBN Convergence Inc., Sky Cable Corporation, and Amcara Broadcasting Network (the former Studio 23).
The officials urged NTC to include in the respective provisional authorities terms and conditions that the agency deems appropriate to protect public interest consistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.