Pres. Marcos won’t bar efforts to grant ABS-CBN franchise

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has vowed not to stand in the way of efforts to give media giant ABS-CBN Corp. a new 25-year legislative franchise, which is granted by Congress.

TALKING WITH TONI. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. grants celebrity interviewer Toni Gonzaga an exclusive interview at Malacanang on Tuesday, discussing a range of topics. Celestine Gonzaga Instagram account

In a television interview, Mr. Marcos said the Lopez-owned network’s woes were due to “technical reasons” that had surfaced during previous House hearings and not because of its “political positions” against his predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I know the suspicion is that it is always because of the political positions that they took against PRRD. The actual technical reasons are these issues that were found during the hearings in the House,” he said.

“The question of the ABS-CBN franchise is really about the violations and problems they have encountered during the hearings and the investigation in the House of Representatives… So long those are attended to and those are resolved, there’s no reason actually for the Committee of Franchises in the House to deny them of a franchise,” the President added.

ABS-CBN halted its broadcast operations on May 5, 2020, following the National Telecommunications Commission’s issuance of a cease-and-desist order.

On July 10, 2020, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises rejected ABS-CBN’s bid for a new 25-year franchise because of several issues, including the alleged dual citizenship of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio Lopez III; the possible violation of the constitutional limits on foreign ownership; reported labor and tax violations; and other violations of the terms of its franchise.

In January this year, the NTC granted provisional authority to the Villar-led Advanced Media Broadcasting System Inc. to “install, operate, and maintain” digital TV channel 16 and temporary simulcast on analog TV channel 2.

The NTC also granted the Aliw Broadcasting Corp. to install, operate, and maintain a digital broadcasting system using Channel 23.

The Swara Sug Media Corporation (SSMC), the legal operating name of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) founded and led by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, was also granted provisional authority to install, operate and maintain digital TV channel 43.

Channels 2, 23, and 43 were previously used by ABS-CBN.

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