Senate grants franchises to more telecommunications and broadcast companies

MANILA – The Senate on Monday approved in third and final reading numerous bills granting telecommunications and broadcasting companies legislative franchises.

Sponsored by Senate Public Services Committee Chair, Senator Grace Poe, the bills approved sought to grant and renew statutory franchises for institutions and businesses to operate in various parts of the country.

These include House Bill No. (HBN) 9384, which proposes to extend the franchise granted to the Davao City Government for its radio stations; as well as franchises for Mount Apo Science Foundation College Inc. (HBN 10212), Capricom Broadcasting Network Corp. (HBN 10192), Amapola Broadcasting System (HBN 10196), South Cotabato Communications Corp. (HBN 10123), Prime Broadcasting Network Inc. (HBN 10124), National Council of Churches of the Philippines (HBN 10125) and GVM Radio/TV Corp. (HBN 10211).

The Senate also approved at third and final reading the legislative franchises for Ismo Inc. (HBN 8971), Aspire Media Technologies and Ventures Inc. (HBN 10169), Linkserve Telecommunications Network Inc. (HBN 10193), Derecho Telecommunications Inc. (HBN 10194), Unicorn Communications Corp. (HBN 10195), Purple Flower Telecommunication Corp. (HBN 10197), Calapan Telephone System Inc. (HBN 8975), Bicol Telephone and Telegraph Inc. (HBN 9424), Lukban Telephone System Inc. (HBN 9438), Continental Telecommunications System Inc. (HBN 9439), Victorias Telephone System Inc. (HBN 10182) and General Telephone System Inc. (HBN 10183), so that they may establish and maintain their respective telecommunications systems and services.

Meanwhile, the Senate also passed local bills to establish, convert and upgrade local offices of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in 32 locations across the Philippines.

These include LTO offices in the provinces of Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Camarines Norte, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Iloilo, Zamboanga del Sur and Bukidnon, among others.

Similarly, the Senate voted to approve three bills to establish Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board offices in Puerto Princesa, Palawan (HBN 2590), Bacoor City, Cavite (HBN 4560) and Dasmariñas, Cavite (HBN 5488).

The Senate also approved at third and final reading Senate Bill 2421 granting benefits and compensation to Covid-19 healthcare workers (HCWs).

Senator Sonny Angara, sponsor and author of the bill, said there should be no more barriers to delivering well-deserved benefits to healthcare workers.

The bill was introduced by Angara and Senator Richard Gordon in response to the Department of Health’s (DOH) request for passage of legislation that will ensure the continued delivery of health care worker benefits in under the now defunct Bayanihan laws.

“While it was clear to supporters of the Bayanihan laws in Congress that granting benefits to our health workers should continue for as long as the President-declared state of national emergency is in place, the expiration of these laws has become a cause of delay for the delivery of these benefits and this is what SB 2421 aims to address,” Angara said.

Once enacted into law, Angara said benefits for healthcare workers will be provided even beyond 2022, as long as the national public health emergency is in effect. (PR)

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