The Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives on Monday filed a bill renewing the franchise of broadcast network ABS-CBN.
ABS-CBN’s franchise to operate is set to expire in March 2020. Under Republic Act 3846, radio and television broadcast stations are required to seek a franchise from Congress before being allowed to operate.
The group, led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, filed House Bill 6052 as few session days are left for the House to deliberate on the proposed measures that pertain to the franchise renewal of the broadcasting network.
“One of the largest and oldest networks in the Philippines is on the verge of a shutdown pending legislative approval of the renewal of its congressional franchise, which expires on March 30, 2020,” the group said in the bill filed Monday morning.
Zarate said the non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise will cost the jobs of some 6,730 regular employees, 900 non-regular workers and more than 3,325 talents, as per the number of employees listed under the media corporation’s report to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange.
“Yet, an even bigger ripple of the ABS-CBN shutdown is its cost to freedom of the press, in particular, and to democracy in the country,” the bill said.
Earlier, the House leadership assured broadcast network ABS-CBN that it would be fair and objective in reviewing its application for the renewal of its franchise.
HB 6052 has to be referred to the House Committee on Rules before it could actually be referred to the Alvarez’s panel for deliberation.
Congress will adjourn on March 15.