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Velasco: Calls to revive ABS-CBN franchise should wait until next Congress

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday said calls to revive the ABS-CBN franchise would have to wait until the next Congress.

In a statement, Velasco said the House of Representatives is focused on finishing the remaining priority measures of the Duterte administration as there is little time before the 2022 elections.

"On top of these priority legislation, we would like to see the passage of Bayanihan 3, as well as other economic bills geared toward rebuilding the Philippine economy, shattered by the devastating impact of the global pandemic and rebuilding the lives of every Filipino disrupted by the health crisis," Velasco said.

His remarks came days after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not allow the National Telecommunications Commission to give the broadcast network a license to operate even if it will be given a new franchise by Congress.

The President said the Lopez family should first settle its unpaid obligations.

In May 2020, ABS-CBN went off the air after the National Telecommunications Commission had issued a cease and desist order against the broadcast network.

A House of Representatives panel also voted to deny the network's franchise application.

Prior to this, Duterte had repeatedly threatened to block the network's franchise renewal.

Last month, Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed Senate Bill No. 1967 seeking to renew the franchise granted to ABS-CBN to construct, install, operate, and maintain television and radio broadcasting stations in the Philippines for another 25 years.

At the House of Representatives, Batangas Representative Vilma Santos-Recto also filed a measure calling for the renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN— RSJ, GMA News