MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved a bill that would extend the franchise granted to the Catholics Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for its broadcasting operations for another 25 years.
A total of 216 lawmakers voted yes during the 3rd and final reading of House Bill 8155 on Monday, September 10. No legislator voted no or abstained from voting.
HB 8155 would allow the CBCP to continue operating and maintaining its radio and television broadcasting facilities in the Philippines for another 25 years. The last legislative franchise granted to CBCP under Republic Act 7530 lapsed in August 2017.
Section 5 of HB 8155 carries over from its old franchise law the provision that would give a “special right” to the President to “temporarily take over and operate” the CBCP’s radio stations or facilities during times of war, rebellion, public peril, calamity, emergency, disaster, or disturbance of peace and order.
The House, mostly composed by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, backed the extension of the CBCP’s franchise weeks after Duterte’s tirades against the Catholic Church.
In July, the CBCP under its president, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, released one of its strongest and most comprehensive critiques of the Duterte regime.
The CBCP slammed the crackdown on loiterers, the drug war killings, and other abuses under Duterte. The bishops also called for prayer and fasting from July 17 to 19. – Rappler.com