Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday filed a resolution urging Congress to give ABS-CBN a provisional franchise until June 30, 2022.
Rodriguez filed House Joint Resolution 30 after ABS-CBN was shut down by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) due to an expired franchise license.
“I am filing today a new joint congressional resolution granting the temporary franchise. I am hoping we can expedite the hearings on this measure amid the Covid-19 pandemic even if we have to hear all stakeholders through the new normal videoconferencing platform,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Aside from the joint resolution, the CDO representative also filed another bill granting ABS-CBN a new franchise good for 25 years.
“Now the remedy is for the House to speed up its hearings on my proposals for a temporary franchise and for the grant of a new 25-year broadcasting service privilege,” he said.
The solon also proposed that Congress, in any franchise they would grant in the future, should include authority for a concerned regulator such as NTC to provisionally allow a franchisee with an expired franchise to continue its operation if its franchise renewal application is pending and still not disapproved by the House.
Also read: Duterte thanks ABS-CBN for COVID-19 efforts
Rodriguez said this measure would prevent the debate on whether ABS-CBN should continue to operate while the Congress is still tackling the pending franchise renewal bills.
Cebu City Representative Raul Del Mar also filed his own joint resolution extending the franchise until June 30, 2022.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, however, said these joint resolutions would only create more problems than solutions.
“It’s not that we don’t want, we don’t need the joint resolution at kapag sinalang mo [if we tackle] ang joint resolution, argument na naman ‘yan [it would be an argument]. Anong validity niyan [what is the validity]? Until the end of the year or until 2022? Will it become a precedent? So from now on, will we be granting a 2-year, 3-year franchise instead of 25-year franchise?” Cayetano said in an interview last February.
In an order issued on May 05, 2020, the NTC directed ABS-CBN to stop operating in various television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide, absent a valid congressional franchise that expired on May 4, 2020.