MANILA — ABS-CBN Corp. is gunning to operate a "broadcast super mega franchise," an official of a cable group claimed on Monday, citing a provision in one of the franchise bills pending before Congress.
The head of the Federation of International Cable TV Associates of the Philippines (FICTAP) appeared before the House of Representatives on Monday to object to the renewal of the ABS-CBN's broadcast franchise.
"Ito po ang... nakalagay sa ABS-CBN franchise application filed ngayon ni Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, House Bill 6694. On section 1 po na ito ang sinasabi 'where frequencies and channels are available for radio and television broadcasting, including digital television system.' Hindi po nakasaad itong phrase na ito sa luma nilang franchise noong 1995," FICTAP president Estrellita Juliano Tamano told lawmakers.
The House legislative franchises and good government panels are currently tackling whether ABS-CBN should be granted a fresh 25-year franchise after its previous license lapsed on May 5.
According to Tamano, the franchise bill authored by Rodriguez will bestow on ABS-CBN a franchise superior to those of other local TV networks.
"This new franchise application to be granted as such will become a broadcast super mega franchise. It will be very different from a franchise granted to other privately owned broadcast stations such as GMA 7, TV 5 and other TV networks," Tamano claimed.
The cable operator said that if Rodriguez's bill is approved, the government's regulations will have to be amended.
"If Congress will grant this broadcast super mega franchise applied by ABS-CBN, government must enact new rules and regulations to govern such broadcast super mega franchise," she said.
The granting of such franchise will also set a precedent, according to Tamano, that will wreak havoc in the broadcast industry.
"Kung hindi po natin ito mabigyan ng linaw, susundan po ito ng ilang TV network station. Ano na pong mangyayari sa ating broadcast and telecommunications (industry)?"
Rodriguez's bill, however, is only one of over a dozen franchise bills pending before Congress.
The FICTAP official has repeatedly voiced out her opposition against ABS-CBN, accusing the media giant of several violations in its franchise.
ABS-CBN has debunked Tamano's claim.
The National Telecommunications Commission shut down ABS-CBN last May 5, a day after its original 25-year franchise expired, despite renewal applications that had been pending in the House of Representatives since 2014.
news.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.