Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III proposed the Senate Bill 1967Â proposing that ABS-CBN, one of the top broadcasting networks in the country, should have their legislative franchise renewed for another 25 years since TV is still one of the main source of information for citizens.
“ABS-CBN’s wide reach to Filipinos, alongside the undeniable advantages of broadcast media relative to mass communication, definitely calls for the immediate renewal of the network’s franchise,” read the bill.
Sotto also pointed out that despite its non-renewal, ABS-CBN continues to be one of the Filipinos’ top choice when it comes to entertainment and news.
“ABS-CBN is still the top choice of viewers in the Philippines as its viewers nationwide prefer to catch relevant news and inspiring TV series on ABS-CBN as the network registered an average audience share of 45% or 14 points higher than GMA’s 31%,” Sotto said in the bill wherein he cited Kantar Media for its data.
In a separate text message sent to reporters, Sotto said he noticed that new programs were replaced with anime series.
“I noticed the TV stations have been replacing their news programs with animes. It means competition is absent and mediocrity is creeping in because of the absence of a strong competitor like ABS-CBN,” he said.
House of Representatives still gets to decide
While this might come as good news to the network and its supporters, the Constitution requires all local and private bills to originate from the House of Representatives and once approved, the Senate can now discuss the bill at the plenary. However, there is still no bill passed on the House regarding the Kapamilya network’s franchise.
Until then, Sotto’s bill “will most likely be referred to the Senate’s Committee on Rules.”
In July 2020, the House committee rejected ABS-CBN’s appeal to renew its legislative franchise, causing them to shut down on free TV and radio. Despite the scarce reach of audience, they have managed to stay on the top by focusing on other available platforms such as the A2Z channel and their social media accounts.
Banner image from George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News