Attempts to renew the ABS-CBN franchise may not pass through this 18th Congress, House Speaker Lord Alan Velasco confirmed on Thursday.
This is what the leadership of the House said after President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks on ABS-CBN on Monday.
“With a little over a year until the 2022 elections, the House of Representatives is bent on finishing the remaining priority measures of this administration to ensure that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte fulfills his campaign promise to the Filipino people,” Velasco said in a statement.
For now, it is said that it would be better for Congress to pass the third stimulus bill (Bayanihan 3) he wrote with Marikina Rep. Stella Qiumbo, along with ten other measures that will revive the economy after it was damaged by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Just a few days ago, Digong said that he will not allow the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant a license to operate ABS-CBN even if the new legislative franchise passes the legislature.
ABS-CBN franchise will ‘have to wait until next Congress’ – Velasco
“Ang Congress is planning to restore the franchise of the Lopez. Wala akong problema doon kung i-restore ninyo. But if you say that if they can operate kung may — may ano na sila, no, I will not allow them,” Duterte said on February 8.
In 2018, Duterte also said that he will block the ABS-CBN franchise renewal after it failed to air some of his advertisements when he was running for the presidency in 2016.
Some of those who are pushing for the return of ABS-CBN are the legislators who used to be part of the showbiz industry, just like the Batangas Reps. Vilma Santos and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.
Some labor groups, on the other hand, lashed out at Velasco’s statement on ABS-CBN franchise, something that just proves that the Lower House seems to be just part of the president’s office.
“We will never forget. With less than a year from now, our congressmen, senators and minions of the administration still have time to rethink their position or else bid farewell to their political ambitions next year,” said Christian Lloyd Magsoy, spokesperson of Defend Jobs Philippines.
“Velasco’s pronouncement today only proves that the Lower House is an extension office of the Executive.”