Tue. May 11th, 2021

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said he would not allow any entity to get a franchise from the government unless it settles its obligations.

While he did not mention which entity was seeking a franchise to operate, he was obviously referring to ABS-CBN that has been getting allies in Congress to have its franchise resurrected.

“There will be no opening – that I assure you. All franchises will not be implemented. I will not allow that unless their obligations with government are settled,” Duterte said partly in Filipino during a meeting with a number of Cabinet officials.

“For all I care, you can have a thousand franchises. You will not see the light until you come to government with clean hands,” he added.

His comments came after Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto filed a bill in the House of Representatives seeking the renewal for the 25-year franchise of ABS-CBN.

“ABS-CBN has remained steadfast in its commitment to reach out to as many Filipinos as possible by delivering their quality core programs closer to our countrymen by taking advantage of emerging broadcast technologies,” she said in the explanatory note of her bill.

Santos-Recto filed her bill at the House after Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd filed Senate Bill No. 1967, which seeks to revive ABS-CBN’s franchise that has gained support from a number of senators.

The Constitution requires that a franchise bill must emanate from the House of Representatives.During the House hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise, it was alleged the broadcast giant did not pay taxes from 2017 to 2019. SOVEREIGNPH

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