SWS: 3 out of 4 Filipinos say Congress should renew ABS-CBN franchise

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2020 08:37 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2020 11:09 PM

People gather in front of ABS-CBN in Quezon City to show support for the network. The network is facing a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court invalidating its current franchise filed by the Solicitor General. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - Three out of 4 Filipinos want Congress to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Saturday, a day after a House of Representatives committee rejected the network's bid to resume broadcast operations.

The July 3 to 6 poll found that 57 percent of adult Filipinos “strongly” agreed that the network should be granted a fresh franchise, while 19 percent “somewhat” agreed. 

Some 5 percent of the respondents "somewhat” disagreed, 8 percent "strongly” disagreed while 10 percent were "undecided," showed the poll results that was released on SWS' website.

The survey interviews were conducted while lawmakers scrutinized the broadcaster's alleged violations in its previous franchise.

The July poll also revealed that denying the network a broadcast franchise for its free radio and TV operations is a major blow to press freedom.

Of the 1,555 respondents, 30 percent "strongly" agreed and 26 percent "somewhat" agreed that non-renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise would cause an immense impact on press freedom. 

Some 15 percent were "undecided," 12 percent "somewhat" disagreed and 15 percent "strongly" disagreed.

Based on past SWS surveys, ABS-CBN, the country's largest media network, was "highly trusted" by Filipinos, the pollster said.

Of the 11 polls conducted from Oct. 2000 to Dec. 2018, the company obtained an "excellent" net trust in 6 surveys while "very good" net trust in 5 others.

STRONG SUPPORT IN ALL AREAS

The same survey also found that support for ABS-CBN's franchise bid was strong in all areas, especially outside Metro Manila and in rural areas.

Call for the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise was highest in Mindanao (80%), followed by the Visayas (77%), Balance Luzon (74%) and Metro Manila (69%). It was also higher in rural areas (81%) than in urban areas (70%).

Those who called on Congress to let ABS-CBN air again were higher among women (81%) than among men (70%). They hardly vary across across age groups.

By education, those who agreed that Congress should renew ABS-CBN's franchise were higher among non-elementary graduates (82%) and elementary graduates (84%), compared to junior high school graduates (74%), and college graduates (65%)

The SWS said the poll was conducted using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviews with 1,555 respondents.

It had sampling error margins of ±2 percent for national percentages, ±6 percent each for Metro Manila and ±5 percent each for Balance Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

The country's telecoms regulator shut down ABS-CBN's free TV and radio operations on May 5 after its franchise was left to expire on May 4 despite a long-pending renewal application at the Lower House.

In July, 2 alias cease and desist orders were also served by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against ABS-CBN's digital broadcast in Metro Manila and its sister company Sky Cable's direct broadcast satellite service nationwide.

In a historic vote of 70-11, the Committee on Legislative Franchises on Friday junked ABS-CBN's application because the "applicant was seen as undeserving of the grant of a legislative franchise."

ABS-CBN was first shut down in 1972 when dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law. Some 48 years later, the network was forced off the air under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.