Unauthorized “Radio Caritas” for closure- NTC-XI RD Go

Oct 28-nov 3, 2010

Court orders radio station until December to comply City Hall’s PA requirement

By Cha Monforte

The regional office of the National Telecommunications Commission is seeking closure of an unauthorized radio station in Tagum City named by its owner as “100.7 Perfect FM Radio Caritas” even while a Regional Trial Court has ordered the same radio station to submit provisional authority (PA) as required by the city government for its business permit.

NTC-XI regional director Josue de Villa Go said in a phone interview Tuesday that he has already sent his recommendation to the NTC Commissioners to issue a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) citing the radio station’s gross violations of existing radio laws.

He said though that since NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba and his two deputy commissioners Douglas Michael Mallillin and Jaime Fortes, Jr. “are still on holdover capacity” following the May election of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III they have not yet acted on the matter.

The three top NTC officials were appointed by former President Gloria Arroyo and are accordingly waiting for President Aquino whether they would remain in their posts.

Go said that the subject radio station owned by one Rey Nagar has still no approved provisional permit (PA) although it filed application for it already.

The PA is a first major requirement that any radio station ought to have before it commences broadcasting to the public. Violation of this could land owners and operators of illegal and unauthorized radio stations in jail or be meted with heavy fine.

REVOKED BUSINESS PERMIT

“Radio Caritas” started operating last January with a station blessing even dragging the presence of Bishop Wilfredo Manlapaz and Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario.

Last March 24 it was padlocked by Tagum City government after its business permit was revoked following discovery that it has no PA.

“Radio Caritas” subsequently sought for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and Regional Trial Court Branch 1 Judge Virginia Ang pinned a decision giving the radio station until December 2010 to submit the required PA by the city government.

In an interview, city legal officer Atty. Roland Tumanda said he respects the court’s decision but the same he has to wait for the station’s PA requirement until end of December 2010 and failure to submit it would mean its subsequent closure.

When it was padlocked, radio station’s officers Nagar and Allan Laniba and station manager Troy Jagunos questioned the city government’s action citing that it is only NTC which has jurisdiction to close broadcasting radio stations and cried over political harassment of city officials and of being singled out of the PA requirement while other FM stations in the city have been operating without PAs.

NO SUFFICIENT PAPERS

Per station papers, it appears that “Radio Caritas” has been operating with no sufficient papers for operate even while it was given only a radio frequency 100.7 by the NTC for a test broadcast without doing commercial business such as airing commercial advertisements and paid airtime.

The station was having limited period of test broadcasting for only about two months compared to the standard 6-month test broadcast where there would be no advertisement and commentator and disc jockey on the air.

Asked about IT earlier, NTC regional director Go claimed that the period of test broadcast is dependent on the decision of the NTC national officials.

When “Radio Caritas” was closed down, it went off-the-air for two days, March 24 and 25, and on March 26 owners started airing anew, claiming that it was NTC which “switched on the transmitter” and had them “go back on air via test broadcast with no business ads to be aired”.

As the act was not contested so much by the city government, later on from a renewed test broadcast it went full-blast with its commercial broadcasting.

RMC CLAIMS

Earlier, Nagar said that “Radio Caritas” is under his Sug-angan News Network (SNN), a DTI business name registered “advertising agency”.

He claimed that “Radio Caritas” is “an extension of RMC (Rizal Memorial Colleges) Broadcasting”, which is “owned by RMC Broadcasting Corp.”

He showed a Memorandum of Agrement signed between him as a “business partner” and “marketing agent” and one Carlos Munda representing the RMC Broadcasting Corp.

A certification was also obtained showing Rizal Memorial Colleges letterhead and logo and signed by Munda as “general manager” of the school certifying that the radio station under the SNN “is affiliated with RMC Broadcasting, Inc., which is allowed by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to operate using its broadcasting franchise.”

Nagar was described in Munda’s certification as “Chief Executive Officer (CEO)” of the SNN.

The station appears to be also not transparent who its real owners are as Nagar was described by Munda as CEO while Laniba has been actively claiming in the rounds to be one of its owners. Laniba had once said to a mediaman he has “classmates as his co-investors” of the station.

It appears that Munda has arrogated unto himself of being an NTC authority by grossly putting RMC’s franchise over the legality of “Radio Caritas” to operate while the latter needs a separate PA and shows to operating only on mere MOA of a third party SNN, which has revoked business permit and only verbal imprimatur from NTC regional director Go for renewed full-blast commercial broadcast, sources from broadcast industry said.

At presstime, the Valley & City Chronicle tried but failed to contact Munda for comments. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

 

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