PJ: ‘I cannot stand letting ABS-CBN resume operations’

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 12,2020 - 04:14 PM

Representative Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd) cites the alleged violations of ABS-CBN as a basis for voting against the network’s franchise renewal. | CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu third district Representative and Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia maintains that mass media giant, ABS-CBN, has committed violations prompting him to vote against the network’s franchise renewal last Friday, July 10, 2020.

Garcia took to his Facebook page his explanations of why he supported the denial of the franchise application of the Kapamilya network.

Garcia, in his post, cited the allegations of tax and labor violations of the network as his reasons for supporting the denial of the franchise renewal.

Voting 70 against 11, the House committee on legislative franchises denied the network’s franchise renewal application, effectively preventing the network to return on the air after it was ordered to cease operations last May.

Garcia is among the 70 lawmakers who voted against the granting of the network’s franchise.

“I am one with the Filipino people as we seek for the company’s accountability. We are all paying full taxes, but ABS-CBN doesn’t. Sakto ba kini? (Is this fair?)” Garcia said.

During the hearings conducted by the Committee on the network’s application for the franchise renewal, the lawmakers tackled the alleged violations of the network along with resource speakers from concerned government agencies.

Garcia attached to his post the points of the 40-page report of the Technical Working Group that recommended for the denial of the franchise renewal.

On February 24, both the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Securities and Exchange Commission said that ABS-CBN had not committed any violations of the law and had been regularly filing and paying its tax obligations.

READ: SEC, BIR: ABS-CBN has no violations, regularly paying taxes

The congressman also chided ABS-CBN for allegedly using its employees, who are facing the grim possibility of unemployment, despite the network’s alleged abuse to its workers by not regularizing them.

“I cannot stand having ABS-CBN resume its operations while they’re all feeding us lies,” Garcia said.

In one of the hearings conducted by the House Committee on Legislative Franchises with the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) dropped ABS-CBN as a respondent to the issues raised against it over some violations that the agency found during an inspection conducted on the media giant from July to September 2018.

READ: ABS-CBN ‘fully compliant’ with ‘directives’ on labor standards, DOLE exec tells House

After that inspection, there was a series of mandatory conferences conducted to give ABS-CBN a venue to submit proof of compliance or submit employment records to disprove the alleged violations, the Inquirer reported.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, however, said “correcting the violations committed by ABS CBN after inspection did not make it a compliant company.” Bello added that the network has some 67 pending cases before the National Labor Relations Commission and other courts.

The denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal drew a public outcry labeling the move as a blow against press freedom.

READ: Martial law activists: ABS-CBN closure ‘merciless’, ‘oppression’ of press freedom

Despite Malcañang’s pronouncements that it will remain neutral on the ABS-CBN franchise issue since it is a matter that is under the Congress’ jurisdiction, critics see the denial of the franchise as an attack against a network critical of the present administration considering several previous pronouncement of President Duterte that he will see to it that ABS-CBN will be “out.”/dbs

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TAGS: ABS-CBN franchise, ABS-CBN franchise renewal, ABS-CBN violations, Pj garcia

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