Senate adopts reso seeking continuous ABS-CBN ops; House to start franchise hearings

The Senate adopted a resolution supporting the provisional authority issuance to broadcasting network ABS-CBN and its subsidiaries for the continuous operations of the network while the House of Representatives will start hearing ABS-CBN's franchise bills on March 10.

In a session on Wednesday, senators agreed that it wants the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority which will serve as the legal basis for the network's continuous operations after its franchise will expire on May 4.

Senators mentioned that directly passing bills to grant ABS-CBN's franchise could not be done as such measures should be initially approved by the House of Representatives.

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 8 stated, “There is an urgent need to devise government interventions to ensure that ABS-CBN will continue its operations pending Congress’ deliberations of the network’s franchise renewal.”

In the meantime, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano bared that the lower chamber will begin its hearings on ABS-CBN's franchise on March 10.

Cayetano said they have instructed the NTC to issue a provisional authority for the network.

Cayetano explained that the House panel will ask parties to submit position papers on the network's franchise and urge the NTC to grant the provisional permit.

The House speaker assured that the House panel will give a “fair and objective” hearing on ABS-CBN's franchise bills.

About 11,000 workers will be affected if the network's operations would be disrupted.