Today, July 10, is a dark time in Philippine TV history. One of the country’s largest media network ABS-CBN will stay off-air after lawmakers formally junked the bill that would have renewed its legislative franchise.
A majority of the House committee on legislative franchises adopted the recommendation of its technical working group to reject the bills seeking to grant the network a fresh franchise. Hence, restricting the network a right to broadcast on the country’s airwaves for the rest of Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential term.
Prior today, a resolution by the technical working group of the House committee on legislative franchise recommended that the company’s application should be denied. Not all House representatives under the committee were present, and instead they cast their votes online via Zoom or text message.
The hearing ended with 70 votes against the franchise renewal, only 11 lawmakers cast votes in support of it, while 2 inhibited and 1 opted to abstain. A majority vote of 44 was needed to approve the resolution denying the company’s franchise. Moreover, the said decision will force the network to lay-off or terminate the services of its 11,000 employees starting August.
According to House legislative franchises panel chair and Palawan 1st District Representative Franz Alvarez, the TV network can appeal the decision within the next 24 hours. If the network files a motion for reconsideration, the House committee will have to hold another hearing before ruling on the appeal.
ABS-CBN legislative franchise officially expired May 4 of this year. A day after the franchise lapsed, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to cease its television and radio operations. However, using other alternative platforms, the network still continued to air some of their shows.