Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) president Jun Nicdao defended ABS-CBN’s blocktime deals saying it is “standard practice” during the joint committee hearing on Monday.
Carlo Katigbak, ABS-CBN president and CEO, had mentioned that the company has an annual blocktime agreement with Amcara Broadcasting Network’s Channel 43 which was not part of the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) cease-and-desist order issued against ABS-CBN.
In 2019, the ABS-CBN sold its 49% stake in Amcara and is currently airing their various programs digitally on Amcara Broadcasting Network’s Channel 43.
Bayan Muna party-lsit Rep. Carlos Zarate asked KBP president the legality of blocktiming arrangements. In response, he said that blocktime deals are a standard practice. The usual blocktime arrangement ranges a few hours to a whole day.
“Itong practice po ba na bumili ng blocktime ay standard practice. Karaniwan po yung blocktime arrangement sa industriya ng broadcast and it ranges from a few hours to almost the whole day ang arrangements sa blocktime ngayon,” Nicdao said.
Nicdao also said that under the blocktime agreement, the control of the station remains with the franchise holder and a violation would occur if the blocktimer takes control of the station.
Zarate cited GMA-7’s blocktime partnership with Television and Production Exponents Inc. (TAPE) airing the longest v-running variety show in the Philippines “Eat Bulaga” which under a blocktime arrangement for two decades.
“[I]sa sa pinakamalaking programa na nagba-blocktime ay ‘yung Eat Bulaga na pagmamay-ari naman ng Television and Production Exponents Inc. (TAPE Inc.) so sila po may sarili silang studio, sarili silang tauhan, mga talents, etcetera, at sila po ay bumibili or nagba-block time. Dati po noon ay sa iba ibang istasyon at ngayon nga ay nasa GMA sila,” Zarate said.
“So pag nagba-blocktime ‘yung TAPE o Eat Bulaga, hindi naman niya pag-aari ‘yung GMA tama po ba ‘yun?” Zarate asked KBP.
Nicdao agreed with Zarate as he clarifies that TAPE doesn’t own the station but only bought a blocktime with GMA-7.
“Tama po ‘yung sinabi niyo Cong. Zarate. In the case of TAPE, bumili po sila ng mga 2 o 3 oras [airtime sa GMA] at hindi po sa kanila, they don’t own the station, they just buy the block time,” Nicdao said.
Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla and SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta also questioned the airing of ABS-CBN programs on its TV Plus even after its franchise had expired.
The NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba argued that Channel 43 was part of the closure order but later admitted that the channel itself was not specifically mentioned in NTC cease-and-desist order. He also said that the blocktiming deal of ABS-CBN should be scrutinized.
Though Zarate agrees with Cordoba, he also said that ABS-CBN should be given provisional authority similar to other broadcast firms while their franchise renewal applications were pending in Congress.
After some of the lawmakers insisted that TVPlus and Sky Cable offering should also stop due to ABS-CBN’s expired franchise, ABS-CBN president Katigbak appealed for “fairness”.