Marcoleta raises lack of transparency in NTC granting frequencies to other media firms

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Marcoleta raises lack of transparency in NTC granting frequencies to other media firms

House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, one of the lawmakers who was instrumental in denying the franchise of ABS-CBN, raised concern over the move of the National Telecommunications Commission to give the analog and digital broadcast frequencies previously held by the media giant to Advanced Media Broadcasting System, Inc.

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In a statement issued Thursday, Marcoleta pointed out the supposed lack of transparency in this action made by the NTC, saying that this could be perceived by some as a “midnight deal.”

“While I view this development with qualified optimism, we cannot ignore the fact that there appears less or even lack of transparency in the grant of frequencies by the NTC. That being so, the public or otherwise interested entities might view this arrangement as a midnight deal, a situation that we need to avoid,” Marcoleta said.

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The AMBS is owned by business tycoon and former senator Manny Villar.

The NTC also provided Channel 43, which used to air ABS-CBN TV Plus programs, to Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s Swara Sug Media Corp., operating as Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

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Further, Channel 23, which used to air ABS-CBN’s sports and action channel, was assigned to Aliw Broadcasting Corp.

Marcoleta, a senatorial aspirant being endorsed by the BBM-Sara UniTeam, said it cannot be discounted that people would think there is a conflict of interest in this issue.

“Others might view it as a trade-off, or a midnight deal, considering that the grant of frequencies was done just days before the start of the election period. Still others might speculate that the said arrangement would have the effect of relieving ABS-CBN of its sins and multiple violations that the people were all made aware of in an open public hearing,” the lawmaker said.

Marcoleta also said the grant of provisional authority to test broadcast Channel 2 may be used only for political purposes that would favor select candidates.

“This is because the said frequency will be repurposed after the analog shut off (ASO) on December 31, 2023 and shall be returned to NTC for other use. This means that this channel, or any part of its spectrum, cannot migrate into digital frequency-rendering the test broadcast a doubtful exercise except for political motive,” Marcoleta said.

“If Channel 2 is repurposed as a telco frequency, it can no longer be re-assigned to AMBS because the latter is a broadcast company and will not be allowed to use a telco frequency. This is the prohibition against super franchises that cover two or more industries,” he added.

GMA News Online has sought the comment of NTC on the matter but it has yet to reply as of posting time.

Lawyer Larry Gadon, who is also seeking a Senate seat in Eleksyon 2022, lauded the transfer of the frequencies to other media organizations.

He even praised President Rodrigo Duterte for supposedly giving the frequencies to AMBS, SMNI, and Aliw.

“Mabuhay si Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa kanyang desisyon na ang mga channels at frequencies ng ABS-CBN ay ipamahagi na sa iba dahil nga nag-expire na ang franchise ng ABS-CBN at ang maganda nito, ipinakita ni Presidente Duterte na hindi siya kumikiling sa kahit kanino man,” Gadon said in a video message.

(I laud President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his decision to give the channels and frequencies of the ABS-CBN to other firms. This shows that the President has no ‘favorites.’)

The Palace had said that the NTC’s decision to grant the frequencies to other media companies was based on its rules and on existing laws.

Gadon, meanwhile, called on the three media outfits to properly utilize the frequencies by giving accurate information to the public.

“Sana ay gamitin natin itong mga media outfits na ito sa pagbibigay ng tamang impormasyon, tamang kuro-kuro at opinyon sa ating mga kababayan. Hindi propaganda, hindi indoctrination, hindi brainwashing at hindi paninira,” he said.

(I’m hoping that these frequencies will be used to provide accurate information and opinion and not for propaganda, indoctrination, and brainwashing of the public.)—AOL, GMA News

This article Marcoleta raises lack of transparency in NTC granting frequencies to other media firms was originally published in GMA News Online.

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