Press Release
June 3, 2020

Sponsorship speech of Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan
Senate Bill 1530 - Non-Expiration of License or Franchise Bill
Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes
3 June 2020

Good afternoon, colleagues.

It is my privilege to sponsor Senate Bill No. 1530 under Committee Report No. 100 entitled "An Act Amending Section 18, Book VII, Chapter 3 of the Administrative Code of the Philippines."

A franchise is a privilege granted by Congress to public services and utilities. These include power and water, transport and communications -- services vital to the survival and progress of a nation and its people.

By its very definition, legislative franchises are imbued with public service, with Congress bearing responsibility for granting and extending such franchises.

Today, we seek to rectify a small omission that has been corrected in practice but not in law.

Today, we seek to correct this error not only to uphold the right to free speech and expression, but equally important, the right of the people to correct, relevant, timely, and accurate information.

Today, in the age of massive disinformation and misinformation at the speed of thought, we seek to promote truth-telling. Because truth is the handmaiden of democracy. Truth has saved us from thieving and tyrannical governments. Truth, as the Bible says, will set us free.

This right to truth is especially important now as the pandemic continues to claim lives. Because truth and accurate information save lives. And especially as our country continues to face typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. We, our people need to know what to do before, during, and after such calamities. This right literally saves the lives of those who rely only on free radio and TV. Especially in the so many remote, isolated, hard-to-reach islands of our archipelago.

Today, we also seek to protect and defend the right to decent work of approximately 11,000 employees of the ABS-CBN Corporation and the workers among their suppliers in their business eco system, especially amid a pandemic that has already cost our people over 2 million jobs. The Department of Labor and Employment has said that in the coming months, anywhere between 5 to 7 million of our kababayans will also be losing their jobs. We cannot add to that suffering.

Senate Bill 1530 authored by Sen. Franklin Drilon proposes to amend Section 18, Book VII, Chapter 3 of the Administrative Code of the Philippines to include franchises, stating that "where a licensee or franchisee has made timely and sufficient application for renewal of a franchise or license, the same shall not expire until after finally determined by the relevant department, agency, or branch of government."

The bill amends an existing provision under the Revised Administrative Code to include franchises, "making it incumbent upon the issuing authority to act on an application and avoid situations where silence or inaction could effectively bar the operations of an enterprise."

In a hearing for this bill held last week, all of our resource persons that included legal luminaries and government agencies regulating licenses and franchises support this amendment and agree that it will indeed bridge the gap between law and practice and law. We are also enlightened on how this measure will help in the pursuit of the rule of law and democratic accountability.

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