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200,000 Signatures for ABS-CBN Submitted to Congress by NUJP

The House of Representatives has yet to take action on ABS-CBN's franchise renewal.
IMAGE FACEBOOK/NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
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The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) submitted to Congress almost 200,000 signatures of petitioners supporting the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.

According to a report by GMA News Online, the signatures collected by NUJP are part of the 1 million signatures it aims to amass for the petition.

On petition webstite change.org, there are 183,500 signatures listed. Another 20,000 signatures to be submitted will come from on-ground gathering.

Several lawmakers received the signatures, including Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate, who authored House Bill 6052 which seeks to approve the network’s franchsie renewal.

According to a statement released by the NUJP, the 200,000 signatures are a partial list of people supporting their petition to encourage Congress to tackle ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines submits and entrusts this partial list of petitioners for the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise to the Honorable Representatives who authored the 11 bills for such purpose,” it said.

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"This list consists of about 200 thousand petitioners gathered through actual signature gathering all over Metro Manila by various organizations and NUJP's online petition through change.org we hereby submit through a flash drive.

"The petition signing was started a month ago and we aim to gather more in the future until such time that the network's franchise issue is positively resolved.

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"The NUJP is undertaking this petition signing to show support to the authors of the 11 franchise bills and to urge the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises to schedule their discussion.

"We need not remind Congress that the network's franchise expires on March 30 and that the First Regular Session only has a little more than a dozen session days to do so."

According to Zarate, he shared the document to fellow lawmakers who are supportive of the petition, and to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises Franz Alvarez.

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"I hope that with this show of support coming from the industry and from the other sectors...[will] help the leadership of the House realize the need for immediately taking this issue head-on rather than dine-delay ito at mas lalong nalalagay sa alanganin ang ating mamamayan in general,” said Zarate.

The Online Petition

The NUJP launched the petition on January 17, titled "1M signatures for ABS-CBN franchise renewal."

Talents from ABS-CBN led the signing of the online petition. Among them are Lea Salonga, Vice Ganda, and Anne Curtis.

ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020, but so far, bills seeking its renewal have not gotten past committee level at the House of Representatives.

According to Cayetano, the House may not be able to tackle the bills in its current session because they are scheduled to go summer break on March 14. He added that it is likely that the issue will be tackled after the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July.

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Cayetano also reiterated that ABS-CBN can still broadcast until March 2022 while bills on their franchise renewal are still pending in Congress.

On top of its franchise renewal issues in Congress, the network is also facing a  quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida at the Supreme Court.

This story was translated from Pep.ph. Edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Arniel C. Serato for Pep.ph
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