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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian will lead the Senate Committee on Public Services’ hearing on the bill granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise after Senator Grace Poe inhibited herself from the proceedings.

In a statement Wednesday (May 13), Gatchalian thanked Poe for trusting him to preside over the hearings, which are expected to start next week.

The senator said the hearings might commence on Sunday, May 17, without prejudice to the House of Representatives’ transmittal of House Bill 6732.

“As acting presiding officer, I feel that expediency is crucial as the Filipino people need access to vital information given that vast swaths of the population emerge out of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” he said.

“Our people need information to guide us in this uncharted territory. In addition, more than 11,000 ABS-CBN employees need to return to productivity and earn a living in these uncertain times,” Gatchalian added.

HB 6732 filed by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other House leaders grants ABS-CBN a provisional franchise valid until October 31, 2020.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the Senate may approve ABS-CBN’s provisional franchise before the end of the month.

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