Is there a plan by the Duterte administration to transform the country’s mega media giant ABS-CBN channel 2 into its own official mouthpiece?
Sources within the media giant say that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has secured a time slot over at DZMM-Teleradyo, the top-rating radio arm of ABS-CBN 2. The DILG serves as Duterte’s conduit to local government units (LGU).
Some say the program which the DILG got a time slot with, aims to explain and present Federalism to the people. Others believe that ABS-CBN 2 did not require the DILG to pay the show’s airtime which, if the contract is a year-long, could reach 12 million pesos (ABS-CBN 2 allows block timers to secure slots at Teleradyo for 120,000.00 php every episode apart from production fees which also run in the 100,000 php range).
Is this the “payment” so to speak by ABS-CBN just to satiate and soften Duterte’s heart? Maybe. Or maybe not.
I personally don’t know if the airtime is free, and if it is, there is simply nothing wrong with it because it is basically a call by ABS. ABS-CBN can very well do what it pleases.
It is however, unfair to other government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)which maintains a weekend program over at DZMM-Teleradyo and pays the corresponding high fees for many years now. There must be something of a “compromise” between the Duterte administration and the media giant. Is this why news about appeals from ABS-CBN artists just suddenly disappeared from newspapers?
Frankly, ABS-CBN does not need to worry about anything. The fact is, even if Congress decides not to extend its franchise just to satiate the capriciousness of Duterte, it still has a legal remedy. They can always question the propriety or impropriety of government’s decision to terminate its franchise or its decision to just wait for the end of the period of franchise.
The possibility that this DILG program is indeed the compromise is the fact that this was mentioned by Duterte as one of his prerequisites before he grants or approves ABS-CBN 2 franchise. But, here’s the thing…
Duterte’s minions had all lambasted and personally held the belief that ABS-CBN 2 must be made accountable for its “anti-dugong” stance during the 2016 elections and should Digong show “weakness” by acceding to the grant of franchise, this probably would not sit well with his supporters. Well, anyway, Digong has shown his flip-flopping ways since last year, and the fact that there is a way to placate Digong’s wrath, there is always that feudalist escape to consider with.