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Lagman urges House leaders to expedite passage of ABS-CBN franchise renewal

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman filed on Monday House Resolution 639 “urging the House committee on legislative franchises to report out without further delay for plenary action” a consolidated version of the pending bills proposing the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise for another 25 years.

The media network’s franchise expires on March 30, 2020.

The Lagman resolution appealed to the leadership and membership of the House of Representatives to “uphold and respect the freedom of the press as an indispensable component of the freedom of expression and free speech by requiring the committee on legislative franchises to act immediately on the bills renewing the giant network’s franchise.”

He said the following House members have signified their intention to co-author the resolution: Reps. Michaela Violago, Joy Myra Tambunting, Johnny Pimentel, Doy Leachon, Josie Limkaichong, Emmanuel Billones, Kit Belmonte, France Castro, Carlos Zarate, and Eufemia Cullamat.

This is “a show of multi-partisan support in upholding the freedom of the press,” according to Lagman.

Due to the President’s continuing objection to the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, the House committee on legislative franchises “has not acted on eight (8) pending bills similarly proposing a 25-year extension of ABS-CBN’s franchise,” Lagman said.

His resolution emphasized that time is of the essence because the franchise of ABS-CBN expires on March 30, 2020 or very soon thereafter, and Congress has only 24 regular session days from its resumption on January 20, 2020 to its Holy Week adjournment starting on March 14, 2020 to May 3, 2020.