MANILA - The Makati Business Club urged lawmakers to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise saying this will protect press freedom and preserve “one of the public’s biggest sources of information” which it said was “especially important in the whole-of-nation fight against COVID-19.”
In a statement released Sunday, the MBC said the broadcast network is also a major platform for businesses to advertise their goods and services, which would help revive the economy, preserve jobs in those businesses and increase the taxes government needs for public services.
“Finally equal treatment of all companies -- especially by regulators, prosecutors, and lawmakers -- will signal that rule of law prevailed, encouraging foreign and local investors at a time when we most need their help to create new jobs,” the MBC said.
ABS-CBN has been off the air since May 5 when the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order on its broadcast operations, as its franchise expired.
Lawmakers are set to vote on ABS-CBN’s new franchise application after they tackle on Monday the network's alleged biased reporting.
Opponents of ABS-CBN’s franchise bid have questioned the citizenship of the company’s chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez, and alleged that the company allows foreign control through its use of Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs).
Officials from the Justice Department however have said that Lopez is a Filipino citizen, while the Securities and Exchange Commission said that the use of PDRs is legal.
Other accusations thrown against the network were tax violations, and labor law violations.
Officials from the Bureau of Internal Revenue have said that ABS-CBN is compliant with tax laws. An official from the Labor Department meanwhile has said that the company complies with labor standards.
News.abs-cbn.com is the general news website of ABS-CBN Corp.