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Congress calls for inquiry on Bantay Radyo woe

(The Freeman) - September 13, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines- The controversy over the management of Bantay Radyo stations owned by Sarraga Integrated Management (SIAM) Corporation has reached Congress.

San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan Representative Arturo Robes, has called for an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the alleged lease of SIAM of its franchise to other entities without prior approval from Congress, in violation of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7478.

Robes has filed on August 5, 2015 House Resolution No. 2263 directing the Committee on Legislative Franchises to conduct the inquiry.

Robes is the vice chairperson of the committee while the 43 members include two Cebuanos, Representatives WilfredoCaminero of the second district and BenhurSalimbangon of the fourth district.

The controversy stemmed from the decision of SIAM to terminate the management contract with PAFI Techno Resource Corporation in favor of Cebu CFU Cooperative, effective August 1, 2015.

 On August 1, 2002, SIAM entered into a management contract with PAFI granting the latter the right to manage and operate its three radio stations (DYDD, DYHH and DYZZ) collectively known as BantayRadyo, including all facilities, equipment, and machineries.

The contract was repeatedly renewed until SIAM, in a letter to PAFI dated May 30, 2015, signified its decision to terminate the same, effective July 31, 2015.

On June 3, 2015, SIAM reportedly entered into a management agreement with CFI effective August 1, 2015 until July 31, 2018, granting the latter the right to manage and operate the radio stations.

BantayRadyo’s news director Jess Villarba sent a letter dated June 17, 2015 to the House Committee on Legislative Franchises asking for guidance and assistance on SIAM’s termination of the management contract with PAFI.

He cited Section 11 of R.A. No. 7479 which provides that SIAM is prohibited from leasing or assigning its franchise or the rights and privileges acquired thereunder to any person, firm, corporation, or entity without prior approval of the Congress of the Philippines.

“By virtue of the two (2) Management Contracts, SIAM has essentially leased its franchise to PAFI, then later on to CEBU CFI, without prior approval from Congress, in violation of section 11 of its franchise,” states Robes’ resolution.

 “The importance of the non-transferability clause, having long been incorporated in legislative franchise granted to public utilities was early as 1950’s, cannot be overemphasized,” he added.

Robes further said the rationale and intent of the provision under SIAM’s franchise that approval from Congress is needed for a transfer, sale, lease, or assignment of franchise is to see to it that the entity, which will hold the franchise, remains compliant to the Constitutional requirement of ownership of a public utility.   (FREEMAN)

 

ACIRC BANTAY RADYO BANTAYADYO BULACAN REPRESENTATIVE ARTURO ROBES CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES FRANCHISE HOUSE COMMITTEE HOUSE RESOLUTION NO JESS VILLARBA LEGISLATIVE FRANCHISES SIAM
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