FALSE: ABS-CBN ‘now officially renewed 25 years of franchise’

FALSE: ABS-CBN ‘now officially renewed 25 years of franchise’
As of January 23, Congress is still sitting on the bills submitted to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise

Claim: Broadcasting network ABS-CBN’s franchise is “now officially renewed,” according to a  Facebook post by Shakira Brady on January 18.

Brady posted in the Facebook group, A Soldier’s Heart ABS-CBN, a screenshot of a YouTube video saying that President Rodrigo Duterte signed the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN. 

The original YouTube video was uploaded by user Meet Carlo on December 18, 2019. The video, which lasted two minutes and 29 seconds, provided a brief background on ABS-CBN’s franchise and ended by saying Duterte had signed the bill that will allow the network to continue its operations.

“ABS-CBN is now officially renewed 25 years of franchise. ABS-CBN will continue to spread love and blessing forever,” said Meet Carlo at the end of the video.

The Facebook page has over 419,614 members, while Brady’s post had over 382 reactions and 48 shares as of writing. Meanwhile, Meet Carlo’s video had over 141,263 views.

Brady’s post was flagged by ClaimCheck, Facebook’s monitoring tool that spots potentially false posts shared across the platform.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: Congress is still sitting on the bills submitted to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise, giving Duterte nothing to sign into law as of January 23.

There are at least 9 bills filed with Congress seeking ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal. The network’s current franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020, after it was approved on March 30, 1995 through Republic Act No. 7966. (FAST FACTS: What you should know about ABS-CBN)

If none of the bills are passed into law, ABS-CBN will be forced to close down its radio and television operations. (TIMELINE: Duterte against ABS-CBN’s franchise renewalIt may, however, still be able to operate by distributing its content via other media platforms such a website.

However, with a little over two months left before the network’s franchise expires, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on January 22 there’s still “enough time” for Congress to tackle franchise renewals.

In 2017, Duterte accused ABS-CBN of “swindling” after the network allegedly did not air his campaign advertisements during the 2016 presidential elections. This was the first time Duterte told Congress there’s “no need to renew” ABS-CBN’s franchise, which came just a few days after he renewed the franchise of rival network GMA Network for another 25 years.

In December 2019, Duterte again told ABS-CBN that he “will see to it that you’re out,” and that the media giant would be better off if it “just sells” the network instead.

This is not the first time Rappler has debunked a false post about ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal. In July 2019, there was also a false claim that said ABS-CBN was “confirmed” to close down– John Florentino Perez/Rappler.com

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