THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) won support in the House of Representatives.
Despite being at odds with President Rodrigo Duterte, the religious body was given by administration solons another 25 years to carry out its broadcasting mission.
Voting unanimously, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 8155 or extending the franchise granted to the CBCP for its broadcasting operations.
Under HB 8155, CBCP is allowed 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.
Since President Duterte won the presidency he has been attacking the Catholic church and leaders.
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 Duterte’s war on drugs, crackdown on loiterers, and other human rights abuses.
Also under the measure, the CBCP (formerly the Catholic Welfare Organization) is allowed “to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain radio and or television broadcasting stations in the Philippines” under Republic Act 7530.
The bill was principally authored by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.