By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Senate approved on third and final reading on Monday the bills seeking to renew for another 25 years the legislative franchises of six broadcast companies.
The bills approved were on the respective franchises of Broadcast Enterprises and Affiliated Media, Inc.; Crusaders Broadcasting System; Bicol Broadcasting System, Inc.; Golden Broadcast Professional, Inc.; Gold Label Broadcasting System, Inc.; and First United Broadcasting Corp., currently known as Global Satellite Technology Services, Inc.
Gold Label Broadcasting System’s current franchise is set to expire in May, while those of the rest will lapse in July.
Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Public Services Committee and sponsor of the franchises, on Wednesday said the bills were sent back to the House of Representatives for their approval of the Senate’s amendments.
She said the Senate’s green light on the franchise bills was also a manifestation that the public services panel gives importance to all companies seeking franchise application or renewal.
“We want to make sure that all franchises are given equal opportunity and prompt scrutiny as we recognize the value of able media firms as sources of job opportunities and information especially in the countryside,” Poe said.
She maintained, though, that a franchise is a public duty.
“Hindi ito karapatan na pwede sa lahat, para sa lahat, kundi isang pribilehiyo na ibinibigay lamang sa mga may kakayanang gampanan ang mga tungkulin na nilalaman nito (This is not a right, but a privilege given only to those who have the capability to fulfill the responsibilities spelled out in the franchise),” she said.