Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News
MANILA – The people’s initiative for ABS-CBN’s franchise will be rolled out “gradually,” a lawyer leading a group of volunteers said Sunday.
The initiative needs to get the signature of 3 percent of each legislative district or at least 10 percent of the total voting population (6.5 million voters).
The group aims to get the required number of signatures within a year, according to Dino de Leon of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).
“It’s going to be a national campaign so ang balak namin dito dahan-dahan. This one kasi, it’s an organic movement, talagang umaasa kami sa volunteers,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(It’s going to be a national campaign so we aim to gradually do this. This one is an organic movement, so we rely on volunteers.)
“Hindi naman kami natatakot na hindi makakuha ng lagda kasi, hindi pa kami officially naglo-launch, napakarami nang gustong sumuporta. Napakarami na ng volunteers.”
(We’re not afraid not to collect the required number of signatures because even though we haven’t officially launched yet, there are so many volunteers and supporters already.)
“This is a struggle of every Filipino. They can help out and everyone is welcome to help out. But we can assure the public that the people who formed this only have good intentions in mind. Most of them are very young, dynamic,” De Leon said.
“Pinaplantsa naming lahat ng mechanics to make sure na tama ang pagkalap ng pirma at sasangayon sa rules and regulations na mayroon tayo sa kasulukuyan,” he added.
(We are working out the mechanics to make sure the signatures we get are according to the rules and regulations.)
A recent SWS survey showed that 3 out of 4 Filipinos believe that ABS-CBN’s franchise should have been renewed.
Atty. Enrique dela Cruz, a law professor at the University of Santo Tomas, initially suggested the people’s initiative track, citing Article 6, Section 1 of the Philippine Constitution, and Republic Act 6735 or The Initiative and Referendum Act.
Speaking to TeleRadyo on Sunday, dela Cruz said the SWS survey results is a good indication of the Filipino people’s position favoring a new franchise for ABS-CBN.
The House Committee on Legislative Franchises denied ABS-CBN’s new franchise application last June 10, in fulfillment of President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous threats against the network.
ABS-CBN management has announced it will start laying off workers by Aug. 31, 2020 as it is forced to cease some of its business operations.
Aside from affecting the livelihood of the company’s more than 11,000 workers amid a bruised economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the shutdown of ABS-CBN is also seen by various sectors as curtailment of the people’s right to information, as well as of press freedom.
news.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN News.
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