House approves renewal of Millawave franchise for another 25 years

MANILA, Nov. 15 (PNA) — The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure renewing the franchise of the Millawave Systems Corporation (Millawave) to construct, establish, install, maintain and operate radio and television broadcast stations in the Philippines.

House Bill No. 6073, which substituted House Bill 3923 authored by Rep. Rosendo S. Labadlabad (2nd District, Zamboanga del Norte), authorizes Millawave to continue to provide efficient and effective public service through broadcasting for another 25 years.

“Article II of our Constitution on State Policies provides that the State recognizes the vital role of communications and information in nation building. It is in the light of this policy that the Millawave Systems Corporation wholly owned and managed by Filipinos, has been, primarily conceived and formally organized,” Labadlabad said.

“Imbued with strong enthusiasm and conscious of their material and technological resource and capabilities, the incorporators have concretized their plan and vision to contribute their share in the enhancement of the social and economic growth of the country through public information,” Labadlabad added.

Rep. Marcelino R. Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City), chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, said Millawave is mandated to provide the government adequate public service time to enable it to reach the population on important public issues and assist in the functions of public information and education.

The measure prohibits Millawave to use its stations for the broadcasting of obscene and indecent language, speech, act of scene or for the dissemination of deliberately false information or willful misrepresentation.

Under the measure, the President of the Philippines has the right to temporarily take over and operate the stations or facilities of the grantee, to temporarily suspend the operation of any station or facility in the interest of public safety, security and public welfare, or to authorize the temporary use and operation thereof by any agency of the government in times of war, rebellion, public peril, calamity, emergency, disaster or disturbance of peace and order.

The measure also prohibits the grantee from leasing, transferring, selling nor assigning the franchise or the controlling interest thereof without the prior approval of the Congress of the Philippines.

Millawave shall secure from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) the appropriate permits and licenses for the construction and operation of its stations and facilities and shall not use any frequency in the radio/television spectrum without authorization from the NTC.

Millawave shall file a bond with the NTC, in the amount that the NTC shall determine, to guarantee compliance with and fulfillment of the conditions under which the franchise is granted.

Millawave shall submit an annual report to the Congress of the Philippines, through the Committee on Legislative Franchises of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Public Services of the Senate, on its compliance with the terms and conditions of the franchise and on its operations on or before April 30 of every year during the term of its franchise.

The reportorial compliance certificate issued by Congress shall be required before any application for permit or certificate is accepted by the NTC.

Failure of the grantee to submit the requisite annual report to Congress will be penalized by a fine in the amount of P500 per working day of noncompliance.

The fine shall be collected by the NTC from the delinquent franchise grantee separate from the reportorial penalties imposed by the NTC. (PNA)