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Don’t wanna wait anymore: NOW Corp’s Mel Velarde prods NTC to give away ABS-CBN’s frequencies ASAP

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Businessman Mel Velarde’s NOW Corp. is urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to put ABS-CBN’s television and radio frequencies up for grabs even as it denied it is jockeying for the coveted frequencies.

In a statement, NOW Corp. denied the report of Politiko’s sister site, Bilyonaryo, about the application it supposedly lodged with the NTC to acquire ABS-CBN’s radio and television frequencies.

“NOW Group is very interested in TV and radio broadcasting due to its wide-spread 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,” the company said.

NOW Corp., however, said the application for TV and radio licenses was an “obligation mandated in broadcasting franchises to operate granted by Congress” and that “there must be as many applications to fill the void created by the demise of ABS-CBN TV and radio signals in the air.”

With ABS-CBN’s franchise bid dead, the company said the radio and television frequencies which the network had should be used by a “qualified” applicant.

“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,” the company said.

NOW Corp.’s broadcasting affiliates have applied for radio frequencies and have ongoing applications for direct terrestrial television broadcast (DTTB).

Velarde is a friend of politikos associated with the Aquino administration, such as Vice President Leni Robredo, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario.

The 1734 Murillo Velarde map the businessman purchased at a London auction for P12 million has been cited by Carpio in his lectures to bolster the Philippines’ maritime claim in the South China Sea.

In September 2017, Velarde gifted Robredo with a replica of the 1734 Murillo Velarde map, which is considered the “mother” of all Philippine maps.

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