Palace says respects House decision to block media giant’s licence bid
July 12 2020 01:04 AM
An ABS-CBN employee cries after the Philippine congress voted against the renewal of the broadcast network’s 25-year franchise, outside ABS-CBN headquarters, in Quezon City, Metro Manila.

By Catherine S Valente/Manila Times

Malacanang has said it respected the decision of a panel of the House of Representatives to deny giving media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corp a new 25-year congressional franchise.
This comes as the broadcasting giant said it would try to find other ways to operate.
Senators expressed concern over the thousands of ABS-CBN employees who would lose their jobs, and celebrities affiliated with the network voiced sadness and gratitude in the wake of the decision.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr said the House Committee on Legislative Franchises’ decision was “a sole prerogative of Congress that we in the Executive recognise.“
The panel adopted the Technical Working Group’s Committee resolution recommending the denial after 70 lawmakers voted “yes” for the non-renewal, 11 voted “no,” two inhibited themselves and one abstained.
“The Palace has maintained a neutral stance on the issue as it respects the separation of powers between the two co-equal branches of government,” Roque said.
“Much as we want to work with the aforesaid media network, we have to abide by the resolution of the House committee,” he added.
In a separate statement, ABS-CBN said that although it was “deeply hurt” by the committee’s decision, it would continue to be “committed to public service, and we hope to find other ways to achieve our mission.”
“We believe that we have been rendering a service that is meaningful and valuable to the Filipino public. Nevertheless, we would like to thank the Committee for allowing us a chance to air our side on all the issues raised against us,” it added.
“ABS-CBN would like to thank all the (legislators) who stood by their bills to renew our franchise or who spoke out on our behalf during the hearings.
We are forever grateful.”
Also on Friday, some senators were angry over the franchise denial, as it would mean that more than 11,000 employees of the network would lose their jobs.
In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said what happened to ABS-CBN demonstrated that the “sword of Damocles can be unleashed any time.”
Emphasising the need for more access to information amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the lawmaker said the network complemented other television stations in providing timely and accurate reportage, even to those in far-flung areas.
“The 11,000 workers losing jobs next month have families to feed, rent and mortgages to pay and children to send to schools.They will suffer the consequences of the decision of the House of Representatives,” Drilon said.
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan echoed his sentiment, saying in a statement that instead of providing livelihood opportunities, the government is depriving 11,000 of theirs, especially while the pandemic continued to rage.
Although ABS-CBN is far from perfect as an organisation and has admitted failings, Senator Mary Grace Poe said its list of accomplishments and all the good it had done for Filipinos were valuable.
“The correct — and constitutional — response is to allow it to remedy them (failings), the same chance extended to thousands of franchise applicants,” Poe said.
According to her, it is not only the news offered by ABS-CBN that is curtailed but also its entertainment shows, which represent the finest in the craft, delight the public and inspire them to be the best.
Meanwhile, several stars affiliated with the so-called Kapamilya network voiced their sadness and rage, as well as gratitude, on social media.

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