Senator Grace Poe has urged Congress to put in writing, instead of just saying, that the franchise of media giant ABS-CBN can be extended until 2022.
Poe also proposed that Congress could at least verbally say, “We commit to give ABS-CBN through the National Telecommunications Commission a temporary permit to operate” because that is not written in the law.
“That’s a courtesy that Congress gives to the NTC,” said Poe.
She said stopping the operation of ABS-CBN is “no joke” since 11,000 jobs will be affected.
She exhorted her fellow lawmakers to ensure that broadcasting ABS-CBN would continue to operate while Congress is still deliberating on its franchise extension to protect its workers from displacement.
Poe earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 322 directing the Senate committee on public services to conduct an inquiry to determine ABS-CBN’s compliance to the terms of its franchise.
Several senators are supporting the resolution.
Poe said the hearings would aid the senators in making judgment when the franchise bill is transmitted to them for their deliberation.
The House of Representatives has yet to begin deliberations on the application. House leaders, however, assured that ABS-CBN could continue operating until 2022 or the end of the 18th Congress while its franchise is being discussed.
Poe said the Senate inquiry would focus on the network’s alleged violations. All parties will be given an opportunity to air their side for the public to know the real issue.
“Nothing is perfect. I have an open mind on that because many are applying for franchise, nobody is perfect,” Poe said.
“No doubt ABS-CBN is giving services but still, we need to weigh things– do the services being given by ABS-CBN appropriate such that its shortcomings can be set aside,” she said. /Stacy Ang