House approves new franchise for Jacinto’s network

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THE House of Representatives passed on third and final reading the bill renewing the franchise granted to Rajah Broadcasting Network, Inc. (RBN), owned by businessman and presidential adviser Ramon “RJ” P. Jacinto.

House Bill 8177, which extended the franchise of Mr. Jacinto’s broadcasting network by another 25 years, received 202 affirmative votes and no negative votes.

Mr. Jacinto is currently the presidential adviser for economic affairs and information technology communications.

Aside from RBN, other companies under the RJ Group include RJ Guitar Center, Jacinto Color Steel, RJ Productions, RJ Bistro, RJ TV, RJ Academy of Music, RJ Recording and RJ Recording Studios.

RBN’s flagship radio station is RJ100.3 FM, which operates ten stations in key cities. The RBN also broadcasts through its AM radio station, DZRJ 810 AM Radyo Bandido.

House Bill 8177, if signed into law, will allow RBN to “continue its effective public through commercial FM and AM radio and television broadcasting in the Philippines” for the next 25 years, which may be revoked upon failure to operate continuously for 2 years.

The bill also mandates the RBN to also provide adequate public service time with a maximum of 10% of paid commercial time.

In compliance with the Constitutional provision, promoting public participation in public utilities, the RBN shall offer to the Filipino citizens at least 30% of its outstanding capital stock within five years from commencement of operations.

The network shall also be required to create employment opportunities and provide on-the-job training and to submit an annual report to Congress on or before April 30 of the following year.

Failure to provide the annual report will subject the grantee to a fine of P500 per working day of non-compliance. — Charmaine A. Tadalan