MANILA, Philippines – The fan clubs of ABS-CBN’s stars gathered on Sunday, March 1 to march around the network’s compound for a prayer rally calling for the network’s franchise renewal.
Former Pinoy Big Brother winners Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber aka Mayward joined their supporters during the march. Aside from their fan club, the fan clubs of Karina Bautista and Aljon Mendoza, and Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla also joined the march.
The groups assembled 4 pm and held a short program after.
In the past weeks, several of the stars have taken time off to attend the rallies organized every Friday as the network’s franchise expires on May 4. (LOOK: Stars rally in support of ABS-CBN franchise renewal)
ABS-CBN faces the threat of a shutdown, as its franchise, which was approved in 1995, is set to expire on May 4. In the Philippines, broadcast companies, such as radio and television networks, must obtain a franchise from Congress.
The franchise bill needs the approval of the House of Representatives before it is forwarded to the Senate. A version of the bill approved by both the House and the Senate will still require presidential approval.
But President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed that he doesn’t want ABS-CBN’s franchise renewed. In 2017, he accused the network of “swindling” him, allegedly not airing his campaign advertisements during the 2016 presidential elections. The network has since apologized to Duterte, explaining how there was not enough time anymore before the ban on political ads took effect a day before election day. Duterte accepted their apology, but said it was still up to Congress what to do with the network’s franchise.
The House has yet to scheduled a hearing, with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano saying that the franchise renewal might be tackled in May or August. – Rappler.com