San Mateo County official issues letter urging lawmakers to grant ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise renewal

DALY CITY, CA — ABS-CBN’s North America headquarters is based in Daly City, known as the Little Manila in California.

Along with more than 11,000 workers in the Philippines, the U.S. based employees of the biggest Philippine media network, anxiously wait for Philippine lawmakers to finally grant ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise renewal.

ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise expired on May 4.

A day later, the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order that effectively shut down operations for the network.

Media watchdogs have denounced this as part of the Duterte administration’s continuing assault on free press.

One U.S. official, who is speaking up in support of ABS-CBN and the protection of press freedom, is San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa.

Canepa, who oversees District 5 — where The Filipino Channel’s headquarters in Daly City is located — wrote a letter urging President Rodrigo Duterte and the Philippine Congress to grant ABS-CBN a 25-year franchise renewal.

“We have two options here. We say nothing and someone is allowed to do what they want to do without being challenged. Or we stand firm on justice. We stand firm on liberty. And we do what is right. And that’s why this issue is so important to me. Not only because it’s important to the Filipino community, but it’s important globally, here in the united states as well, to the tenets of democracy.”

In the letter, Canepa expressed that ABS-CBN’s shutdown in the middle of coronavirus pandemic is robbing people of critical information that is essential to their survival — especially affecting the most marginalized and poorest communities in the Philippines.

“We should not be at this phase where we’re trying to dictate what media should stay.”

Canepa hopes for a fair and democratic process when it comes to the franchise deliberation in congress, especially when thousands of jobs are at stake.

“ABS-CBN has done an incredible job. They’ve done an amazing job. You look at them. Started here. They build on a brand. People love their content. And so for other people to stomp out free speech because they hold a position it’s egregious, it’s wrong, and it should be called out on.”

Canepa is not alone in supporting ABS-CBN.

The entire Daly City council — mostly comprised of Fil-Am officials — has publicly expressed support for the Philippine media giant.

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  • Mario
    27 May 2020 at 11:17 am - Reply

    ABS-CBN franchise is already at the Congress, no matter what will be the decision is, DUTERTE has the VETO power. Duterte will give the final decision. Few more days, months without jobs, the 11,000 workers will start filing legal suit against ABS-CBN, 70% do not have SSS, Pag-ibig fund and PhilHealth. The Dept of Labor Secretary Drillon declared their workers as CONTRACTUAL workers, in the US we called it Independent Contractor.