House legislative franchises committee Jonathan Sy-Alvarado and Michael Defensor announced that the frequencies of ABS-CBN are available for other broadcast companies and will not be reserved for the Kapamilya network.
Congress will not reserve the frequencies until ABS-CBN can apply for a fresh franchise in 2022.
On July 10, ABS-CBN network’s franchise application was rejected by 70 lawmakers forcing the media giant to stop its TV and radio broadcasting operations. The Kapamilya network had about five AM radio stations, 18 FM stations, 42 television stations, and 10 digital TV stations frequencies.
Following the network’s shutdown, its frequencies may now be available for other companies as what Congressman Alvarado disclosed to The Philippine STAR on Wednesday, September 8.
“It’s now open for application by other broadcast companies,” said Alvarado.
Defensor added that the government may now give the slots to other companies saying, “Technically, the frequencies of ABS-CBN are returned to the state.”
Defensor also said that they have already received applications from several companies but they will not disclose those companies for the meantime. Alvarado added that it is “best to wait.”
Alvarado mentioned that he hasn’t heard about the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) rejecting an applicant if there were available frequencies for them. But he noted that the company that will apply for the frequencies of ABS-CBN will have to match the capacity of the network.
“The challenge for them really is to match the capacity of ABS-CBN and its asset of having the most number of regional stations in the country. But I have not heard of any instance when the NTC rejected an applicant for an available frequency,” he said.
The frequency left by the ABS-CBN Corporation is a profitable slot that’s why many broadcasting companies became interested. People believed that the Manila Broadcasting Company of the Elizalde group has expressed their interest in the said frequency.
There were reports that some lawmakers are planning to take over ABS-CBN’s assets but Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said that doing so would not be possible. He explained that the ABS-CBN frequencies are very specific to the equipment used.
“It will be technically impossible to use the frequency… [because] the frequency is very specific to the equipment,” he said in an online press.
Gatchalian said that other broadcast towers may not be compatible with the frequencies assigned to ABS-CBN.
“Yung frequency bumalik sa gobyerno. Ihiwalay natin ‘yung assets and frequency. Pwedeng gamitin ng gobyerno ‘yun kung gusto nilang gamitin, pero hindi mo magagamit ‘yung frequency kung wala kang equipment which are the assets that were invested by ABS-CBN Corporation,” he said.
“Legally, it is not possible [to use ABS-CBN’s equipment] because the possession of the property and other assets is with ABS-CBN Corporation, of which the majority owner is the Lopez family,” he added.
Meanwhile, former ANC boss Jing Magsaysay posted his message to those who plan to take over the ABS-CBN frequency.
“A frequency is just a frequency. Content creation is a whole different ball game. Plus, I hope they realize that the audience does not come with the frequency. You’re going to have to work blood, sweat, and tears to build what ABS-CBN accomplished over 34 years plus the years before Marcos stole the channel,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
He showed his support to the Kapamilya network saying, “You can get the franchise but you will never be ABS-CBN.”