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Still Off the Air: House Committee Rejects ABS-CBN’s Application for a New Franchise

A total of 70 people voted in favor of rejecting the application.
by Clara Rosales
Jul 10, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

Congressmen voted on July 10 to deny ABS-CBN Corporation's application for a franchise renewal.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises voted as follows: a total of 70 votes were in favor of denying the broadcast giant a franchise, while 11 voted to grant one.

This means no radio or television broadcasts for ABS-CBN, as they denied “the application of ABS-CBN Corporation for a franchise to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines.”

The technical working group (TWG) that handled the matter said this was “by no means can this franchise application be related to press freedom,” and that “it is what it is—a denial of a privilege granted by the State because the applicant was seen as undeserving of the grant of a legislative franchise.”

Marikina Representative Stella Quimbo, the sole minority representative in the 3-member drafting committee, disagreed with the resolution to deny ABS-CBN a new franchise.

Continue reading below ↓

According to the TWG group report, ABS-CBN violated its old franchise because of these reasons, to name a few:

  • Former Chairman Eugenio Lopez III was both a Filipino and American citizen
  • The network’s issuance of Philippine Depository Receipts allegedly favored foreigners
  • Inappropriate program content was aired
  • There was meddling in politics
  • Tax avoidance
  • Poor labor practices

ABS-CBN’s franchise expired on May 4, 2020, and was ordered by the National Telecommunications Commission to cease operations. On May 5, the broadcast giant killed off broadcasts nationwide and left screens black.

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