DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The House of Representatives’ Committee on Franchises may have rejected the renewal of the franchise of media broadcasting giant ABS-CBN, but 75% of Filipinos said they supported its renewal.
This was the findings released by the Social Weather Station (SWS) in their nationwide mobile phone survey conducted between July 3 to 6 during the House committee hearings to deliberate on the network franchise.
The survey showed only 13% disagreed with granting ABS-CBN a renewed 25-year franchise, while 10% were undecided.
The survey showed that Mindanao has the highest rate of people supporting the renewal at 80%, followed by Visayas (77%), Balance Luzon (74%), and Metro Manila lowest at (69%). The majority of the respondents came from the rural areas at 81%.
Respondents saying that the non-renewal of the network franchise is a blow to press freedom ranged from 52% in Metro Manila to 59% in Visayas.
ABS-CBN network had constantly topped the SWS in its 11 surveys from October 2000 to December 2019 as the network highly trusted by Filipinos with a trust rating of 6 percent as excellent and very good at 5.
The network has been off-air since May 4 following a “cease and desist” order released by the National Telecommunications Commission when its 25-year franchise expired. They continue to broadcast news and public services online.
The House Committee on Franchises failed to act on several occasions to grant the franchise. This month, the committee voted 70 to 11 to reject the renewal. The public believed the decision was influenced by President Rodrigo Duterte, who took the issue of the station for airing ads criticizing his call to kill drug dependents during the 2016 presidential campaign
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a press briefing Monday said the granting of a broadcast franchise is a “privilege conferred upon a telecommunications entity by Congress.”
But the survey results, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said, is an indicator that the public has understood the importance of press freedom.
“This proves that the House of Representatives is unworthy of the name. It is clear that they do not represent the will of the people but only their own interests and their masters,” said NUJP chairperson Nonoy Espina.
The SWS July 3-6, 2020 National Mobile Phone Survey is a non-commissioned probability-based survey conducted using a mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) of 1,555 adult Filipinos (18 years old and above) nationwide: 306 in the National Capital Region, 451 in Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside of Metro Manila), 388 in the Visayas, and 410 in Mindanao with a sampling error margin of ±2% for national percentages. (davaotoday.com)