With franchise expiring soon, Duterte tells ABS-CBN to just sell network

    MANILA, Philippines – With the 25-year franchise of ABS-CBN expiring on March 30, 2020, the network giant is scrambling to get it renewed before the date but faces staunch opposition from President Rodrigo Duterte. As the date looms near, Duterte tells the network to just sell out because he has no plans to extend or renew their franchise.
    With franchise expiring soon, Duterte tells ABS-CBN to just sell network

    Franchise approval

    According to Republic Act No. 3846, radio and television broadcasters in the Philippines are required to obtain a franchise from Congress. They can only operate within the allotted period that the franchise is valid. In the case of ABS-CBN, its 25-year franchise expires on March 30, 2020, but it is having difficulties in renewing its franchise after facing strong opposition from the president.

    Duterte’s beef against ABS-CBN began during the campaign period of the May 2016 elections when the network supposedly failed to air a paid ad by Duterte’s camp, for undisclosed reasons. According to Duterte, other candidates’ ads were also not aired by the network giant, but an ad by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that supposedly maligned his character enjoyed some airtime.

    In this particular ad by Trillanes, kids could be seen reacting to Duterte’s foul language and bad jokes. Duterte, how happens to be a lawyer and long-time politician, said that the use of children in the ad is a clear violation of the election law.

    Duterte tells ABS-CBN to just sell network
    Photo credit: Alfred Frias/PPD via GMA News

    After he won the presidency, Duterte continues to accuse ABS-CBN of being unfair to him and airing only negative news or highlighting his bad side. So, when he learned that the network’s franchise is about to expire, the president repeatedly told the network that he has no plans of approving its renewal.

    Early in December, he appears to have taken a pro-active approach on the subject.

    “Your franchise will end next year. If you are expecting that it will be renewed, I’m sorry. You’re out. I will see to it that you’re out,” the president announced at Malacañang, during a speech in front of new government officials.

    With both the Senate and the House of Representatives dominated by Duterte allies, it is easy to see that ABS-CBN would have a difficult time convincing these lawmakers to approve the franchise renewal.

    Sell the network?

    In a speech before earthquake victims in M’lang, North Cotabato, Duterte once again addressed the issue.

    “Itong ABS, mag-expire ang contract ninyo. Mag-renew kayo, ewan ko lang kung may mangyari diyan. Kung ako sa inyo ipagbili niyo na ‘yan,” he said. “Kasi ang mga Pilipino ngayon lang makaganti sa inyong kalokohan. And I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever.”

    Duterte tells ABS-CBN to just sell network
    Photo credit: ABS-CBN/Wikipedia

    Many of his critics believe the president is getting too personal against ABS-CBN. Cebu Daily News also noted that Duterte’s ‘joke’ for ABS-CBN to sell the network is too timely.

    “The proposed sale of ABS-CBN came on the heels of reports that Duterte’s friend, Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy recently formed the Udenna Communications Media and Entertainment Holdings Corp, which expands his business to media and entertainment sector,” reported Cebu Daily News.

    — Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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