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May pag-asa pa: House may tackle ABS-CBN franchise bill early next year – Cayetano

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said there is still hope that the franchise application of broadcast giant ABS-CBN may hurdle congressional approval before it expires by March 2020.

Cayetano’s remarks came following House Committee on Legislative Franchises chair Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez’s (Palawan) statement that there is a slim chance his panel may tackle this year proposed legislations that seek to grant the Kapamilya network a fresh-year franchise amid its impending expiration by March 2020.

According to Cayetano, there is “more than enough time” for Alvarez’s panel to tackle it by “January (or) February.”

“March pa naman ‘yung expiration ng franchise,” said Cayetano.

But Cayetano admitted that uncertainty still remains over the status of the ABS-CBN’s franchise application following President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest threat to block its renewal.

“Depende sa kalalabasan ng hearing. I cannot preempt the committee or the issues that will be taken,” said Cayetano’s response when asked if Congress can approve the Kapamilya network’s franchise bill ahead of its expiration in March 2020.

ABS-CBN needs to secure the passage of their congressional franchise on or before March 30, 2020—the expiration date set by its current franchise under Republic Act No. 7966—or the network will have to cease operating as a broadcast network if Congress fails to act on the franchise bill.

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