NOW Group, owned by businessman Mel Velarde, revived its interest in television and radio broadcasting after Congress rejected the franchise of leading network ABS-CBN Corp.
“NOW Group is very interested in TV and radio broadcasting due to its widespread coverage for news delivery, public information and distance learning. But contrary to some reports, it has not applied at the National Telecommunications Commission to secure ABS-CBN Channel 2 and AMCARA Broadcasting Network’s Channel 23,” Velarde said.
Velarde said applying for TV and radio licenses would fill the void created by the demise of ABS-CBN TV and radio signals.
“The sooner this is done, and the most qualified applicants with verifiable and excellent track record can operate the said franchises, the better for the country since if these frequencies fall into the wrong hands, then the intent of Congress which represents the people shall be compromised,” he said.
NOW’s broadcasting affiliates applied for radio frequencies and have pending applications for direct terrestrial television broadcast at NTC.
NOW Group and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication are pushing for the immediate passage of the proposed Philippine Public Service Broadcasting Act.
AIJC president emeritus and trustee Florangel Rosario-Braid said in separate letters to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano that the proposed bill would enhance the public’s claim to constitutional right to information on matters of public concern and the Constitution’s recognition of the vital role of communication and information in national-building.
AIJC is a non-stock non-profit institution engaged in continuing education and media development established in 1980.
Velarde also heads the NOW Group, which includes publicly-listed telecommunications, media and technology firm NOW Corp., NOW Telecom and NOW Cable.
Velarde said NOW was supporting the proposed PPSB and was willing to provide the broadcasting and technology expertise while AIJC would handle content and courseware creation.