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THE Senate approved on third and final reading bills extending the franchise granted to four broadcasting companies under the RadioCorp Broadcasting Group.
With 17 affirmative votes and zero negative, the chamber adopted bills approved by the House of Representatives — House Bills No. 8264, 8265, 8268 and 8269 which will allow the Radyo Pilipino Corp., Beacon Communications Systems, Inc., Radio Audience Developers Integrated Organization, Inc. and the Philippine Radio Corp., respectively, to continue operation for another 25 years.
The broadcasting companies form part of the five-member RadioCorp Group, which owns 24 radio station licenses across the country.
It operates AM radio stations in Dagupan, Lucena, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Butuan among others; and FM stations in Tarlac and Surigao.
The franchises, which were granted in 1995, are set to expire in 2022.
If enacted, the measure will allow the networks to “construct, install, establish, operate and maintain” radio or television broadcasting stations; which may be revoked if they fail to operate continuously for 2 years.
The Network needs to seek the approval of Congress on any “sale, lease, transfer, grant of usufruct, or assignment of franchise.”
The network is required to submit an annual report to Congress on or before April 30 of every year. Non-compliance will subject the group to a fine of P500 per working day of delay, to be collected by the National Telecommunications Commission.
The broadcasters are also required to offer at least 30% of outstanding capital stock to Filipinos, in compliance with the Constitution; and allot a maximum of 10% of paid commercial time to public service. — Charmaine A. Tadalan