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Oras de peligro! ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal dead in 2019, Alvarez says

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House of Representatives will no longer tackle this year the franchise application of broadcast giant ABS-CBN amidst latest threat from President Rodrigo Duterte to block its renewal.

Legislative Franchise panel chair and Palawan Rep. Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez told CNN Philippines that his committee doesn’t have any remaining matter to hear this 2019, with Congress scheduled to take its Christmas recess starting on December 20.

In his speech on Tuesday, Duterte said network executives of the Kapamilya Network that he will make sure that their franchise will no longer be renewed once it expires on March 2020.

“Ang inyong franchise mag-end next year. If you are expecting na ma-renew ‘yan, I’m sorry. You’re out. I will see to it that you’re out,” said Duterte.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal will be most likely discuss by Alvarez’s panel this December, as “there are real issues” that need to be tackled by Congress over the matter.

Duterte’s partymate in the PDP Laban recently have joined calls for the renewal of the legislative franchise of the Kapamilya network.

PDP Laban executive vice-president and Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales together Deputy Speakers Johnny Pimentel and Salvador “Doy” Leachon filed House Bill No. 5608—a proposed legislation that seeks to grant the “Kapamilya Network,” a fresh 25-year congressional franchise.

The move comes with less than three months remaining in the current congressional franchise of ABS-CBN under Republic Act No. 7966 that will expire in on March 30, 2020.

In his October 30 interview with ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda, Cayetano admitted that the congressional franchise renewal of network giant ABS-CBN remains uncertain.

“So hindi naman ako makasagot sa inyo ng definite ngayon na definitely hindi, o definitely maibibigay,” said Cayetano.

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.

Aside from HB 5608, at least five similar legislations were filed at the Lower House to in a bid give ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year franchise.

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