MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a measure that seeks to regulate the rates of political propaganda on television, radio, and print by introducing a 50 percent discount to candidates and parties during a campaign period.
House Bill 6604, proposed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, would also amend the existing Republic Act 9006, or the Fair Elections Act, for purposes of providing “equal opportunity among qualified candidates to avail” affordable political advertisements.
“During the campaign period, media outlets shall provide registered political parties and bona fide candidates a discount of 50 percent for political propaganda on television, radio and print,” the bill read.
The bill also gives power to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to control the rates of political advertisements and to inhibit media outfits from increasing rates to above average rates charged to regular advertisers one year prior the start of the campaign period.
Fariñas compared the rates under Section 11 of RA 9006 wherein media outlets are allowed to offer political advertisers a discount rate of 30 percent for TV, 20 percent for radio and 10 percent for print “over the average rates charged during the first 3 quarters of the calendar year preceding the elections.”
The lawmaker said to balance the losses from the discounts granted under the law, some media entities sidestep from the provision on discounts by increasing the rates charged for political propaganda by nearly 100 percent.
“This practice by certain media outlets proved too cumbersome for most candidates, who have meager campaign resources to avail of the political advertisement in television, radio and print media,” Fariñas said.
“This could provide an avenue for political corruption wherein politicians would be making decisions benefiting their sponsors while foregoing the interests of the public,” he added.