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By Prince Golez

Filipinos have a free and robust critical press, Malacañang assured the United States (U.S.) government Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement in response to the statement of U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus expressing concern over a government agency’s shutdown of ABS-CBN due to its lapsed franchise.

“We share the view of the US State Department that an independent media is vital to democratic societies like the Philippines. This stance has never wavered on the part of the President and his Administration,” said Roque.

According to him, the opposition and critics of the administration remain vocal in their aversion to the current government.

Meanwhile, Roque reiterated that franchises are the prerogative of Congress.

“We, therefore, ask those who clamor for the continued operations of the network, whose broadcast franchise had lapsed, to lobby before their representatives in the august halls of Congress and make their voices be heard,” he said.

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