ABS-CBN hits another roadblock on its fight for franchise renewal

MANILA, Philippines — Despite urgent TRO plea from ABS-CBN, the Supreme Court defers and gives NTC 10 days to comment on the motion. SCPIO Chief Brian Keith Hosaka confirmed that the SC also voted unanimously to urge House and the Senate to comment on the issue.

Photo via @ABSCBNNews

During the Senate Committee on Public Services’ session today, May 19, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile suggested granting the corporation a “reasonable” 25-year franchise instead of a provisional one.

Why can you not give a permanent franchise to ABS-CBN right away, conduct a day-and-night hearing… instead of playing with the constitution by granting a temporary franchise?

Former Senate president juan ponce enrile via @abscbnnews

ABS-CBN President Carlo Katigbak told the Senate that the network has committed to the company’s 11,000 workers. He promised that there won’t be any layoffs for at least 3 months after the shutdown.

We continue to lose a substantial amount of money every month your honor, and I’m afraid that if we can’t get back on air soon, by August we may already have to consider beginning a retrenchment process your honor.

ABS – CBN CEO CARLO KATIGBAK via @inquirerdotnet

Later in the afternoon, the house committee resumes session and decides to forego ABS-CBN’s provisional franchise. Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano says that they will immediately proceed with hearings for the renewal of ABS-CBN’S full 25-year franchise.

Some members express their disappointment in the committee’s decision. According to Rep. Edcel Lagman, the provisional franchise was a favorable compromise to allow the company to operate while hearings on its full 25-year franchise are ongoing.

The abandonment of HB No. 6732 quashes the hope for the resumption of ABS-CBN’s operations, albeit on a provisional franchise, for the benefit of the public and the networks’ employees.

rep edcel lagman

In 1995, the ABS-CBN corporation was granted a 25- year franchise which expired last May 5, 2020.

The NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordona told the House Committee on Legislative Franchises that it will issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN. But on May 5, 2020, the NTC issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN to stop its broadcast operations due to the network’s expired franchise. 

Here’s a rundown on the key events in the history of the franchise which has led to the debacle on the renewal of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.

An Overview on ABS-CBN Corporation History

The ABS-CBN broadcasting network is the leading media network in the Philippines. It’s name was derived from the network’s former names, Alto Broadcasting System – Chronicle Broadcasting Network. The firm’s name was patterned after its first owners, Aleli and Antonio Quirino, the brother of former President Elpidio Quirinio. It was later on acquired by Lawyer and businessman Eugenio Lopez Sr and his brother, former vice president Fernando Lopez merging Alto Broadcasting System (ABS) with their Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN).

The company’s is managed by Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III, son of Eugenio Lopez Jr., Chairman Emeritus and Director of the corporation with his cousin, 46-year-old Carlo Katigbak who is now chief executive officer and president.

Lines of Business

The company is primarily involved in television and radio broadcasting for domestic and international audiences and other related businesses. According to the Philippine Stock exchange, ABS-CBN controls more than 60 subsidiaries which are involved in cable and direct- to-home television distribution and telecommunications services overseas, movie production, audio recording and distribution video/audio post-production and film distribution with other activities including merchandising, wireless communications, publishing, money remittance and theme parks.

The media conglomerate produces a variety of entertainment programs that are aired on free-to-air television. It has over 21 radio stations and  9 channels on cable TV throughout the Philippines. The company also owns cinema and music production and distribution outfits in the country and brings content to international audiences via cable, satellite, online and mobile.

This is a developing story.


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