MANILA, (Mabuhay) — Issues regarding the franchise of embattled ABS-CBN Corp. are not with the administration but with Congress, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who heads the economic cluster.

Dominguez on Wednesday said the franchise issue of ABS-CBN lies strictly with Congress, even as President Rodrigo Duterte earlier threatened to oppose the franchise renewal.

“The fact that ABS-CBN does not have its franchise is not an administration issue,” he said during the Pre-SONA virtual presser on Wednesday.

“Franchises are not provided by the administration, they are provided by the Congress, so that issue is strictly with them,” he added.

To recall, Duterte consistently threatened to oppose the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, as he earlier claimed the network did not air political advertisements during the 2016 election campaign which were already paid for.

Several business groups such as the Makati Business Club called on Congress to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN to ensure equal treatment of all businesses and effectively boost investor sentiment.

According to Dominguez, such franchise issues have not had a significant impact on foreign investments so far.

“We have not seen any direct result of a slowdown in investment because of the ABS-CBN issue. We have seen a slowdown, yes, but that is essentially because of the COVID pandemic,” he said.

The latest data available from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) show that foreign direct investments (FDIs) fell 18.5% to a net inflow of $622 million in March.

“Most companies around the world, here and abroad, are keeping their money in cash in case they experience a drop in demand or any other problems with their own company so investments is down around the world,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez also noted that the Philippine government raised $2.35 billion in bonds, which indicating investor confidence in the Philippines. (MNS)

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