14 solons formally appeal to House Speaker Cayetano to tackle ABS-CBN franchise issue immediately

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Fourteen lawmakers across party lines formally appealed to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to immediately convene the House Committee on Legislative Franchises in order to tackle the pending bills regarding the ABS-CBN franchise.

In a letter dated May 12, the solons, who are authors and co-authors of the bills, said while they share the frustrations of the House leadership over the non-issuance of a provisional authority to the broadcast company, it is now the duty of the House to put an end to the issues surrounding the network’s franchise renewal.

“It is in this spirit that we write and appeal to your good office, Mr. Speaker, to facilitate the immediate convening of the Committee on Legislative Franchise so that it can tackle with dispatch the pending renewal bills for consideration,” the lawmakers said.

“We understand that there are important measures that the House Leadership has to attend to in this extraordinary time. However, we believe, too, that resolving the ABS-CBN issue the soonest is equally important given the impact, economically and politically, of its continued shutdown in this time of crisis,” they added.

The signatories of the letter include Pangasinan Representative Rose Marie Arenas, Batangas Representative Vilma Santos-Recto, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro, Nueva Ecija Representative Micaela Violago, Laguna Representative Sol Aragones, and ParaƱaque City Representative Joy Myra Tambunting.

Also signing the letter are Surigao Del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel, Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat, Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Ramirez-Sato, Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez, and Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Jane Elago.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises on Monday sent a show cause order to officials of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to explain why they should not be held in contempt for issuing a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN.

This was sent after the NTC assured the House in a March 10 hearing that it would grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate while the franchise renewal bills of the company were being deliberated.

NTC officials have 72 hours from receipt of the show cause order to respond.

House franchise panel chair Franz Alvarez said they would wait first for the response of the NTC before they proceed on their action on the ABS-CBN franchise bills./Stacy Ang

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