Marcoleta says ABS-CBN's blocktime with Amcara is 'usufruct'; network execs defend deal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2020 08:12 PM | Updated as of Jul 02 2020 09:39 PM

MANILA - SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta on Thursday said ABS-CBN was engaged in usufruct or the use of another entity's property for its own gains in its blocktime deal with an affiliate, Amcara Broadcasting Network Inc. 

Usufruct is the right to enjoy the use and advantages of another's property short of the destruction or waste of its substance. 

"Kahit balibaliktarin, hindi po blocktime. Ito po ay tinatawag na usufruct o ine-enjoy po niya ang gamit ng isang tao para sa kanyang kapakanan," Marcoleta said.

"Bawal po kasi yun, kung re-reviewhin ang prangkisa ng Amcara, bawal po ang usufruct," he added.

ABS-CBN has had a blocktime arrangement with Amcara Broadcasting Network Inc. since 1996, which enabled it to air Kapamilya shows using Amcara's frequency. 

Under the blocktime deal, ABS-CBN uses 21 hours of Amcara's airtime daily for various Kapamilya shows. 

Amcara officials, however, insisted that its blocktime deal with ABS-CBN is allowed and common in the broadcast industry. 

"'Yung blocktime agreement po ever since ina-allow yan ng KBP. [Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas]. There are rules and regulations governing blocktime agreements and this is not a usufruct agreement. We stand by that," said Atty. Antonio Veloso of Amcara. 

Amcara has its own analog equipment and transmitters used for broadcast, which is maintained via an outsourcing agreement with Transmission Specialist Inc, Veloso said. 

Marcoleta, along with Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla, earlier flagged ABS-CBN shows on TVPlus which resumed airing via digital broadcast using Amcara's Channel 43 after ABS-CBN shut down its free TV and radio operations on May 5. 

Amcara chairman Ricardo Carandang told lawmakers that ABS-CBN began digital test broadcasting in 2015 for its TVPlus set-top boxes using Amcara's Channel 43. He said this was authorized by the NTC. 

ABS-CBN said the digital broadcast on TVPlus using Amcara's Channel 43 was based on its blocktime agreement with Amcara, whose franchise expires in November 2020. 

ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak also said in an earlier hearing this week that Channel 43 was not listed in NTC's cease-and-desist order served on May 5. 

Amcara's Channel 43 airs ABS-CBN content under a block-time arrangement, which is "a standard commercial agreement where a company is allowed to buy airtime from a duly licensed broadcaster and to air our programs," Katigbak earlier said. 

Blocktime is also a standard global practice in the broadcasting industry, said Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas' (KBP) president Jun Nicdao earlier said. 

The NTC on Tuesday served 2 cease-and-desist orders stopping ABS-CBN’s digital broadcast on TVPlus in Metro Manila and SKY Cable's direct-to-home satellite broadcast nationwide.

Katigbak said some 11 million households or equivalent to 55 million Filipinos were affected by the closure of these services.

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