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Rodriguez tells House panel: Act on ABS-CBN franchise bill before it’s too late

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Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Monday urged the House committee on legislative franchises to immediately tackle bills seeking the renewal of the franchise of broadcasting giant ABS-CBN.

“Time is of the essence because the ABS-CBN franchise will expire on March 30 this year. Congress will adjourn for its Holy Week break on March 11. There will only be 22 session days between now and March 11,” he said.

Rodriguez has authored Bill No. 5705, which seeks the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise for another 25 years. There are nine other similar bills pending with the committee on legislative franchises.

The Cagayan de Oro lawmaker said Congress “should always uphold the constitutional mandate under Section 4, Article 111 of the Charter to ensure freedom of the press.”

He said the legislative franchises committee should “hear all the authors of the 10 bills and stakeholders, specially ABS-CBN.”

“Then the committee will have to decide to renew or not to renew the franchise. But it is not proper not to act on my bill and the other bills,” he said.

Rodriguez noted that ABS-CBN is the country’s largest media conglomerate in terms of revenue, operating income, net income, assets, equity, market capitalization, and number of employees.

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