For the Lopez Group, it’s MVP, not MBV

EYES WIDE OPEN - Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

The deal was signed late Wednesday and the result, perhaps, is expected to be a powerhouse partnership of two media tycoons, which could be stronger than the local networks we have today.

I’m talking about the agreement between Manuel V. Pangilinan’s MediaQuest and the Lopez Group’s ABS-CBN for a partnership in TV5.

Also part of the agreement is the sale of ABS-CBN shares in Sky Cable to Cignal Cable Corp.

In the end, the Lopez Group chose MVP as their partner and not Manuel B. Villar, Jr. or MBV. MBV, as we all know, acquired the frequencies previously assigned to ABS-CBN Corp.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) assigned the frequencies to MBV’s Advanced Media Broadcasting System (AMBS).

The NTC issued an order on Jan. 5 granting AMBS a provisional authority to install, operate, and maintain a digital television (TV) broadcasting system in Mega Manila using Channel 16, which used to be ABS-CBN’s digital channel.

The regulator, likewise, “temporarily” assigned Channel 2, previously the analog channel of ABS-CBN, to AMBS for “simulcast purposes.”

“The temporary assignment was granted to ensure service to both analog and digital TV signal users, as the country transitions to full digital TV,” the NTC said then.

AMBS was granted the provisional authority as it was “the first applicant for an authority to install, operate, and maintain a digital TV in Metro Manila, as filed on Oct. 5, 2006.”

ABS-CBN lost its broadcast franchise in 2020 after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises denied its application.

A month after, Bilyonaryo reported that MBV “reportedly sent feelers to the Lopez family for a partnership that could mark the return of ABS-CBN-Broadcasting to its old TV channels.”

This, however, did not materialize, and instead the Lopez Group partnered with Pangilinan.

Talks with MVP started in January 2021 after the non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise.

MVP is no stranger to the Lopez Group. Note that the Lopezes sold their stake in Meralco to Hong Kong-based First Pacific Group between 2009 and 2012.

The TV5 partnership, I hope, will lead to a broadcast network that will offer better content for Filipinos—educational, informative, and appropriate—from news to entertainment.

I also hope it makes the local broadcast industry stronger and more competitive, at par with its foreign counterparts. This would benefit the consumers, as players would have to provide better content, the kind that raises awareness on what is really happening in society, the kind that will help inculcate nationalism and love of country, especially to the younger generation and one that will keep the citizens informed so they can make better decisions.

Majulah Singapura

Tuesday night at the glittering Grand Hyatt hotel in Manila saw one of the biggest gatherings of the country’s diplomats, tycoons, military officials, lawmakers, company executives, and friends of Singapore to celebrate the 57th birthday of Singapore, which marks its independence from Malaysia in 1965.

It was an evening of friendship and diplomatic ties; shared stories and banter; and food and drinks. Guests braved the traffic to grace the event and personally greet Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho Wei Hong who managed to bring together a huge crowd of some 600 people.

It’s not surprising. Ambassador Gerard, who started his duty in Manila in 2019, is well-loved by many in the business and government circles. He is known not just for his important work in deepening ties between Manila and Singapore, but for his deadpan humor.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, the night’s guest of honor, led a toast for even better relations between the two countries.


She also said that the Philippines has a lot to learn from Singapore, particularly in education. She is very much on point and I hope that, indeed, we will be able to pick up lessons from Singapore’s education system, which has been consistently ranked as one of the highest in the world by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The OECD said this comes from the style of teaching that is implemented in Singapore where teachers focus on making sure that each of their students thoroughly move through the syllabus before moving on.

Beyond education and their famed Singapore Sling, there is really so much to learn from our neighbor—their public transport system, their discipline, their love of country, their efficient airport, and more recently, their COVID-19 response.

Congratulations to Ambassador Gerard for a successful event and a salute to Singapore for being the peaceful and beautiful sovereign island country that it is.



Iris Gonzales’ email address is [email protected].

Follow her on Twitter @eyesgonzales. Column archives at eyesgonzales.com



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