By Chito Chavez
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has strongly supported the pursuit of television network giant ABS-CBN for a fresh 25-year franchise deal to operate.
To recall, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court that sought the revocation of the ABS-CBN franchise presumably due to the violation of existing franchise law.
The franchise deal is set to expire on March 2020.
“Being the home of ABS-CBN, GMA-7 and other media outfits has turned Quezon City into a “City of Stars,” Belmonte said.
Citing her stand, Belmonte said “by tradition, Quezon City is also known as a bastion of freedom, knowledge, and diversity, and the presence of multiple media networks in QC embodies these values’’.
Aside from being one of our city’s top taxpayers, Belmonte noted that ABS-CBN “employs thousands of our city’s constituents, whose families would suffer should its legislative franchise not be renewed’’.
More than this however, Belmonte said ABS-CBN has a long-standing relationship with the city that goes beyond its media identity.
“It has supported many of the city’s most significant programs and projects,’’ she added.
Also Belmonte pointed out that ABS-CBN has shared her “advocacy to educate the youth by building for us the Eugenio Lopez, Jr. Senior High School for Media Arts and has served as the main partner of our city’s street children program through the Bantay Bata 163 Children’s Village’’.
“The city has also entered into several partnerships with the late Gina Lopez in various projects, such as the cleaning of our waterways when the latter was head of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. ABS-CBN’s Bantay Kalikasan is also our partner in protecting and preserving our La Mesa Ecopark,’’ Belmonte said.
“In my first year as an elected official in 2010, ABS-CBN was a Manuel L. Quezon Gawad Parangal awardee for its outstanding contribution to the city through its many corporate social responsibility programs,’’ she noted.
Aside from Lopez, Belmonte mentioned that many ABS-CBN media personalities like Noli de Castro and Tina Monzon-Palma, were also conferred the said award in various years