The Philippines’ largest broadcaster ABS-CBN failed to secure a fresh franchise from Congress, an apparent culmination of President Rodrigo Duterte’s years-long tirades against the network.
ABS-CBN’s franchise to operate was approved in 1995 and was valid for 25 years.
On May 5, a day after its franchise expired, ABS-CBN was forced off-air after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against the network.
More than two months later, on July 10, the House committee on legislative franchises rejected the network’s application for a new one because of alleged “numerous violations” – a decision widely condemned as politically-motivated.
However, there were networks and telecommunications companies that were previously allowed to operate despite an expired franchise.
Rappler compiled other details of other TV networks’ franchises, including their expiry dates.
The previous franchise of ABC Development Corporation, mother company of TV5 network, expired in December 2019.
Its 25-year franchise renewal lapsed into law months earlier on April 22, 2019. This will expire in 2044.
GMA’s previous franchise expired on May 12, 2017. President Duterte signed into law the franchise renewal on April 21, 2017. It will expire in 2042.
The People’s Television Network is the Philippines’ flagship state broadcaster and is under the supervision and control of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
In 2013, former president Benigno Aquino III signed a law “revitalizing” PTV-4 and amending the network’s original charter passed in 1992.
The network’s franchise is co-terminus with its corporate status, which is also up for renewal in March 2022.
Duterte called on Congress to pass a law that will transform PTV-4 into a public service broadcaster but to no avail.
The franchise of government-owned IBC is set to expire in 2025.
PCOO is pushing for another 25-year extension to make the station attractive to buyers, as it is currently in “dire straits.”
Subic Broadcasting Corporation (SBC)
The network operates a TV station and several radio stations in the province of Zambales.
In March 2018, President Duterte signed a law renewing SBC’s franchise for another 25 years. It will expire in 2043.
It is owned by former Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr, younger brother of Senator Richard Gordon.
The franchise of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) expired in 2017 but its new franchise was approved in 2019 only. It was, however, allowed to operate in between those years. Some lawmakers earlier cited this example in pushing for ABS-CBN’s continued operations despite an expired franchise.
CBCP’s new franchise will expire in 2044.
Net 25 is the flagship TV station of Iglesia Ni Cristo’s Eagle Broadcasting Corporation. Its franchise was approved on May 3, 2016 and is valid until 2041.
ZOE Broadcasting Network
ZOE Network Incorporated, Inc or ZOE TV, is the broadcasting arm of Jesus Is Lord Church led and founded by Eddie Villanueva. Its franchise was approved on July 17, 2016 and will end in 2041.
UNTV is owned by Alfredo “Atom” Henares and is the flagship network of Progressive Broadcasting Corporation (PBC).
Its franchise, approved on May 18, 2016, is valid until 2041.
Sonshine Media Network International
SMNI is owned by Apollo Quiboloy, the self-proclaimed “Appointed Son of God” and founder of the Restorationist church called “Kingdom of Jesus Christ” (KJC). SMNI, legally known as Swara Sug Media Corporation, is the broadcasting arm of his church.
Duterte and Quiboloy are longtime friends, with Duterte admitting he received properties and cars from Quiboloy. KJC’s sprawling headquarters is located in Davao City.
Duterte signed SMNI’s franchise extension on August 22, 2019, allowing the network to operate until 2044. – with reports from Denise Galias/Rappler.com
Denise Galias is a Rappler intern from the Ateneo de Manila University.