SENATE President Aquilino L. Pimentel III has filed a bill seeking to lower the rates on political advertisements charged by media companies to electoral candidates.
Filed on Apr. 4, Senate Bill No. 1777 called for lowering rates by 50% for television, 30% for radio, and 20% for print ads from the average rates charged to their most favored advertisers during the first three quarters of the two years before the elections.
“In this day and age, an undeniable feature of running a successful election campaign involves media exposure. Unfortunately, many qualified but financially disadvantaged candidates are unable to compete in this regard because of prohibitive rates charged by media entities,” Mr. Pimentel said in a statement, citing the constitutional provision which provides for equal access to opportunities for public service.
Under Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Election Act, media outlets are mandated to charge political advertisements with discounted rates of 30% for television, 20% for radio, and 10% for print based on the average rates charged during the first three quarters of the year before the elections.
Mr. Pimentel said the lowered rates would allow more candidates to run and give voters more choices during the elections.
“This proposal complements our campaign against political dynasties — voters won’t have to put up with the same old tired faces if they have more options to choose from,” he said.
He also saw no issue with the proposed measure as media companies have been willing to lower rates for certain parties.
He noted that while money was never a qualification to run for public office under the Constitution, only the rich or those with financiers could run due to the costs of campaigning.
“The reason we have campaign spending limits is due to the temptation for corruption generated by excessive expenses during a campaign,” he said, noting that some politicians ‘recoup’ their spending using public funds. — Camille A. Aguinaldo