Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez has filed on Wednesday a measure urging Congress to grant ABS-CBN provisional franchise until June 30, 2022.
Rodriguez filed House Joint Resolution 30 after ABS-CBN went off air in accordance with an National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) order for it to cease its broadcast operations.
“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.
Rodriguez also filed another bill granting ABS-CBN a new franchise good for 25 years.
According to the lawmaker, considering that the existing franchise of ABS-CBN expired in the midnight of May 4, a new franchise has to be granted to them.
“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,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez proposed that in any franchise that Congress would grant in the future, it should include an authority for the NTC or any concerned regulator to provisionally allow a franchisee with an expired franchise to continue operating as long as it has a pending franchise renewal application with the House that is still not rejected.
Rodriguez said doing this will prevent a recurrence of the clash among public officials on whether ABS-CBN should continue its broadcast operations while the House is tackling the pending franchise renewal bills.
Rodriguez earlier filed a joint resolution seeking to extend the existing franchise of ABS-CBN for one year after its May 4 expiration date.
Cebu City Representative Raul Del Mar had also filed his own joint resolution extending the franchise, but for two more years until June 30, 2022.
However, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said then that these joint resolutions would only create more issues and problems than provide a solution.
“It’s not that we don’t want, we don’t need the joint resolution at kapag sinalang mo ang joint resolution, argument na naman ‘yan. Anong validity niyan? 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./Stacy Ang