Gov’t extends Iglesia ni Cristo private telecom franchise

Pia Ranada
Gov’t extends Iglesia ni Cristo private telecom franchise
President Rodrigo Duterte also signs laws granting franchises to Malindang Broadcasting Network Corporation and MORE Electric and Power Corporation

MANILA, Philippines – The franchise of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) to operate a telecommunications services has been extended for another 25 years.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law ordering the extension on February 14. Republic Act No 11219 was made public on Tuesday, February 19.

It allows religious sect INC to construct, operate, and maintain “private telecommunications and electronic communication serves” throughout the Philippines and between the Philippines and other countries.

INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo has been Duterte’s Special Envoy for Overseas Filipino Concerns since February 2018.

Duterte also signed laws on the franchise renewal of  G. Telecoms, Inc, or Ermita Electronics Incorporated to operate a radio communications system in the country, for another 25 years.

He also greenlighted the provision of a franchise for MORE Electric and Power Corporation to distribute electricity in Iloilo City. A franchise was also granted to Malindang Broadcasting Network Corporation to operate radio and television stations in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the franchise renewal application of ABS-CBN under House Bill No. 4349 has been pending before the committee on legislative franchises since November 16, 2016, according to data on the House of Representatives’ website. ABS-CBN is seeking another 25-year franchise, as its current franchise will expire in 2020.

Duterte had repeatedly said he would block the renewal of the media network’s franchise, as it allegedly “swindled” him during the 2016 presidential campaign, and for supposed biased reporting. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.