ABS-CBN pay-per-view services, application questioned as cable TV group opposes franchise renewal

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 19)— A group of cable television operators in the country said it is opposing the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, citing the media network’s supposed lack of operation permits and irregularities in the license application process.

Federation of International Cable TV and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines (FICTAP) chair Estrellita Tamano on Wednesday slammed the company for allegedly seeking faster approval for a franchise from Congress.

“Normally, it takes us five to six years before NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) can release a cable TV system. Then here comes ABS, they wanted to have a shortcut of applying,” Tamano told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Tamano added the group has already previously opposed the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise back in the 16th Congress in 2014.

“Because we believe that one channel, one frequency. It is in our law,” the chairman added. “ABS-CBN has this black box, and they included there, I think 13 channels. And one channel, one frequency. But they only have once franchise, ABS-CBN.”

Tamano also questioned the network’s pay-per-view services, alleging that ABS-CBN lacks permit to operate such system.

Kasi nagpe-pay-per-view din sila eh kami lang 'yung authorized to have, to collect pay-per-view. Kami lang ang pinapayagan because we are licensed,” she stressed.

[Translation: They’re doing pay-per-view, but we are the only ones authorized to have, to collect pay-per-view. We are the only ones allowed because we are licensed.]

FICTAP is a group of micro and medium cable TV operators from all over the country. It is composed of 600 member-operators, including Bohol Cable TV, Buenavista Cable in Antique, and Maguindanao Sky, among others.

ABS-CBN has earlier shrugged off the claims, saying their broadcast services have already secured green light from concerned regulatory bodies.

“ABS-CBN complies with all pertinent laws governing its franchise and has secured all necessary government and regulatory approvals for its business operations," it said in a previous statement.

The franchise renewal case was highlighted anew following a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, who asked the Supreme Court to nullify the company’s existing franchise.

Calida on Tuesday also ran to the High Court seeking a gag order on ABS-CBN and its representatives. He cited in his motion supposed “propaganda” videos aired by the network— which he said may “influence the resolution of the case.”