Bill seeking new franchise for ABS-CBN refiled at House

A measure seeking the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation to operate has been refiled at the House of Representatives.

Nueva Ecija Representative Micaela Violago has reintroduced the measure to the chamber, now numbered House Bill 676, after the version of the bill she filed in the 17th Congress failed to get approval in the committee level before it adjourned.

The measure seeks to grant ABS-CBN Corporation a franchise to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain broadcasting stations in the Philippines for another 25 years.

The original franchise granted to ABS-CBN Corporation is set to expire on March 30, 2020, or only about nine months from now.

House Bill 4349, the version of the measure in the 17th Congress, remained pending with the House Committee on Legislative Franchise since November 16, 2016.

GMA News Online reached out House franchise panel chair Franz Alvarez to clarify the matter but he did not respond to the request for comment.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in many occasions, has threatened to block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Corporation.

Duterte says that the broadcast network did not air a political advertisement that was already paid for during his presidential bid in the 2016 elections.

He, however, has said he was willing to enter into a compromise deal with ABS-CBN Corporation if the company would promote his bid for a shift to a federal form of government. —NB, GMA News

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