A CONGRESSWOMAN has refiled a bill seeking to renew the franchise of media giant ABS-CBN Corp., which is set to expire by end-March 2020.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela S. Violago filed House Bill 676, which “aims to renew ABS-CBN’s right to operate TV and radio broadcasting stations in the Philippines through microwave, satellite or whatever means, including the use of new technologies in television and radio systems.”

Under the bill, ABS-CBN’s franchise will be renewed for another 25 years.

“In acknowledgement of ABS-CBN’s accomplishments and the capital requirements of its operations, the immediate renewal of its original franchise which expires on March 30, 2020, is recommended to ensure the uninterrupted and improved delivery of its services to the Filipino people,” the bill’s explanatory note stated.

Ms. Violago previously filed the bill during the 17th Congress, but it failed to gain support at the House of Representatives.

This as President Rodrigo R. Duterte has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

But Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo previously said it is up to Congress to decide on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, not Mr. Duterte.

ABS-CBN reported its attributable net income grew by 89.2% to P856.35 million in the first quarter of 2019, driven by a 24.4% increase in advertising revenues at P5.4 billion.

The Lopez-led media giant is focusing on boosting its digital business this year, as it faces the possibility that its legislative franchise would not be renewed.

The bill renewing the franchise of ABC Development Corp., currently known as TV5 Network, Inc., lapsed into law on April 22, 2019, without Mr. Duterte’s signature. — VACF