Press Release
February 24, 2020

Public Services Hearing on the Public Service Act, ABS-CBN Franchise and other Broadcast Franchise Applications
February 24, 2020

At the outset of this hearing, it was clear that the Committee stood in the midst of unexplored territory. These are some preliminary points with which we can discuss with some confidence:

First, it should be reiterated that a franchise is an act of legislative grace. Hindi ito karapatan na "pwede sa lahat, para sa lahat," kundi isang pribilehiyo na ibinibigay lamang sa mga may kakayanang gampanan ang mga tungkulin na nilalaman nito.

Second, a franchise is a responsibility to serve the people. As such, franchise holders are accountable first and foremost to Congress as the representatives of the people. Ang lahat ng may hawak ng prangkisa ay nananatili sa aming gabay at patnubay.

Third, ABS-CBN is not an exception. This is a test case for every broadcasting entity that forms part of the economy. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa kanilang serbisyo sa sambayanang Pilipino at patuloy tayong titindig para sa malayang pamamahayag.

Fourth, in the midst of these issues, we take note of the recommendation of the DOJ for a resolution which will extend ABS-CBN's franchise pending renewal.

Narinig rin natin mula sa NTC na ang ilang violations ay hindi naman awtomatikong nauuwi sa kanselasyon. Hindi naman kaagad capital punishment, hindi naman kaagad bitay ang hatol dito.

With that said, I would like to remind those who committed to submit:

- The NTC Guidelines on the issuance of temporary permits pending renewal to be submitted on Wednesday, February 24;

- A real breakdown of employee numbers of ABSCBN; and

- Position paper from the Philippine Competition Commission on the imminent closure of a major broadcast corporation; and the

- Total economic impact of the imminent closure, including total taxes.

And I would like to say that if the NTC decides to give the provisional license for ABS-CBN to operate, this is not a special treatment, it's been done before. In fact, based on the precedence, if it is not given with no concrete reason, it is going to be more of the exception that the rule.

I hope that all the agencies present here today, please submit to us as soon as possible the requirements that we are asking.

This meeting is suspended. Thank you.

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