Lawmakers eye bigger discounts for political ads on TV, radio

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2018 10:21 PM | Updated as of Dec 07 2018 02:08 AM

MANILA - Lawmakers are eyeing bigger discounts for political ads on TV, radio and print through an amendment of the Fair Election Act. 

Under the measure, “registered political parties and bonafide candidates” who will place political ads on television networks will enjoy a 50 percent discount, up from the current 30 percent.

Political ads on radio stations will have a 40 percent discount from the current 20 percent. The discount for print meanwhile was retained at 10 percent. 

The bill also gives media organizations a free hand to give higher discounts, provided that “the discount it gives one candidate shall be the same discount it gives to other candidates for the same position”.

The discounts will apply to the average of the published rates charged in the last three calendar years prior to the election, the measure said. 

Senator Koko Pimentel, who sponsored the measure, said Thursday he is optimistic that President Rodrigo Duterte will soon sign it into law.

“Media entities are covered. That means broadcast and print. Follow total airtime law: 180 minutes for radio and 120 minutes for TV. Print has a per week space limitation,” Pimentel pointed out in a text message.
 
The bill’s bicameral conference committee report was ratified last November 27. 

Pimentel in one interview said, the measure has already been forwarded to the Office of the President and is now only awaiting his signature.

Once signed, the measure will take effect 15 days after its publication, just in time for the start of the election period which commences in January next year.