THE SENATE has passed on third and final reading the bill extending for another 25 years the broadcasting franchise of Delta Broadcasting System, Inc., which is owned by El Shaddai leader Brother Mike Z. Velarde.
House Bill No. 7199 was approved with 18 affirmative and zero negative votes, with no abstention. It was sponsored in the Senate plenary by Senator Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, chair of the Senate committee on public services.
The bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7723, which first granted the franchise to Delta Broadcasting System, Inc. for 25 years back in 1994.
It allows the company to operate radio and television broadcasting stations in the Philippines. Delta Broadcasting System, Inc is the broadcast network of the El Shaddai Catholic movement. The company airs religious and commercial programs through its AM station, DMXI 1314.
The proposed measure requires the company to provide free public service time to enable the government to reach to audiences on important public issues and warnings concerning public emergencies and calamities.
The franchise is deemed “ipso facto” revoked if the company failed to operate continuously for two years. Any transfer of ownership or controlling interests in the company also needs congressional approval. The Senate has provided an amendment that such transfer must be notified within 60 days after the completion of the transaction.
The Senate also provided an amendment which requires the company to create employment opportunities and on-the-job trainings in their operations.
An annual report of the company’s compliance with the terms and conditions of the franchise must also be submitted to Congress. Failure to do so would lead to a penalty of P500 per working day of noncompliance. — Camille A. Aguinaldo