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Cable TV group slams ABS-CBN for franchise approval ‘shortcut’

An association of cable television operators in the country on Tuesday criticized broadcaster ABS-CBN for allegedly taking a "shortcut" in the approval of its franchise.

Federation of International Cable TV Associations of the Philippines (FICTAP) chair Estrellita Juliano-Tamano said that franchise approvals usually took five to six years.

“Bakit sila ABS-CBN gusto nilang mag-shortcut?” Tamano said during a press conference. “Kami, six years sa NTC para lang magkaroon ng lisensya ang operators. Tapos sila shortcut lang?”
During the 16th Congress in 2014, FICTAP opposed the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise in a committee hearing due to the inclusion of multiple channels in the application of a single franchise.

Tamano said there ought to be only one channel to one franchise.

In its application, she said ABS-CBN used the term "channels" instead of "channel."

The House committee decided not to approve the franchise at that time and set another hearing for the matter, which never happened, according to Tamano.

“Noong 16th Congress, noong nag-oppose kami sa franchise renewal, hindi umimik. Bakit noong 17th Congress hindi nila ginawa ang assignment nila?” she asked.

“Bakit ngayong 18th Congress sila nag-refile at tsaka sasabihin nila na wala nang panahon, sasabihin nila na March 31 nang March 31 (ang expiration ng franchise),” she added.

Furthermore, Tamano argued that ABS-CBN’s franchise was only licensed for test broadcasts. The broadcast network thus could not offer pay-per-view services since ABS-CBN was free TV, not paid TV.

In 2015, the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) ordered ABS-CBN to stop offering any pay television service in its digital terrestrial television (DTT) or TV Plus, which offers multiple channels.

“Kung na-approve ‘yun (franchise) noong 16th Congress, it will justify their pay-per-view,” Tamano said.

Around 24,000 employees of the 600 member operators of FICTAP would be affected by the questionable operation of ABS-CBN, according to Tamano.

“Ang maaapektuhan ng ginagawa nila ‘yung employees namin, mawawalan ng trabaho. Bakit ganun, sila lang ang may 11,000? Kami ang mawawalan ng hanap buhay,” she said.

The bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise had been pending in the House since August 2019.

Solicitor General Jose Calida had meanwhile filed a quo warranto petition for the forfeiture of ABS-CBN's franchise over allegedly highly abusive practices.

ABS-CBN maintained that it had not violated any laws. — DVM, GMA News

Cable TV group slams ABS-CBN for franchise approval ‘shortcut’ Cable TV group slams ABS-CBN for franchise approval ‘shortcut’ Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 2:51:00 PM Rating: 5

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