Employees of media giant ABS-CBN Corp. thanked on Friday President Rodrigo Duterte for accepting the company’s apology over offense for a 2016 campaign placed by a critic, as they urged lawmakers to grant the network a new franchise.
The broadcast license of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest media and entertainment company, is set to expire on May 4.
Duterte said a new franchise would be up to lawmakers to decide.
Last Wednesday, Duterte accepted the apology and told the network to give to charity a P2.6-million refund for his unaired local ads.
“Dahil sa inyong pagtugon nabuhayan kami ng loob lalo’t matagal na naming kinikimkim ang mga agam-agam hinggil sa aming trabaho at kinabukasan (Because of your response, we were relieved especially since we have long been concerned for our jobs and future.),” the ABS-CBN Rank and File Employees’ Union told Duterte in a statement.
Last Monday, during a Senate hearing, ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak expressed his apologies over a 2016 election ad that showed video of Duterte cursing and making inappropriate gestures with clips of children asking if his actions were right.
The network was “just abiding by the laws and regulations that surround the airing of political ads,” Katigbak said during a Senate hearing into ABS-CBN’s franchise compliance.
The President earlier made several pronouncements opposing ABS-CBN’s franchise.
The House of Representatives has yet to tackle several bills seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s license to operate.
The ABS-CBN workers’ union asked House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and House franchise committee chair Franz Alvarez to discuss and approve the network’s license bills.
“Mga kagalang-galang na kongresista, sana’y maintidihan ninyo na mga ordinaryong manggagawa lamang kami ng ABS-CBN. Dito po sa aming kumpanya nakasalalay ang kinabuksan ng labing-isang libong empleyado at maging ang kinabukasan ng aming mga kapamilya (Esteemed members of Congress, please understand that we’re just ordinary workers of ABS-CBN. The future of 11,000 workers and our families depend on the company.),” the group said.
ABS-CBN is also facing a challenge lodged before the Supreme Court by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Calida sought to nullify ABS-CBN’s franchise due to alleged abuses like illegal pay-per-view offering and foreign ownership.
The network, which reaches millions of Filipinos through its television, radio and online platforms, said it “did not violate the law” in its 65-year service./Stacy Ang