DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 July) — Released a day after the House of Representatives voted to deny ABS-CBN’s bid for a franchise renewal, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted on July 3 to 6 shows that 75% of adult Filipinos nationwide believed Congress should renew it, with Mindanao – President Rodrigo Duterte’ strongest support base — registering the highest support for ABS-CBN’s franchise bid at 80% or 8 out of 10 Mindanawons.
Results of the SWS’ National Mobile Phone Survey, released on July 11, also showed that 56% nationwide agreed that the non-renewal of the franchise of the country’s largest broadcast network is a major blow to press freedom. In Mindanao, home to Duterte, the country’s 16th President and the first Mindanawon to lead the nation, 57% agreed.
On July 10, 84 members of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises (CLF), House leaders and ex-officio members voted on the resolution “denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation to construct, install , establish, operate, and maintain radio and television broadcasting stations in the Philippines.”
Seventy lawmakers voted yes to the resolution, 11 voted no, two abstained and one inhibited.
Of the 84 voters, 17 were Mindanawons, 14 of whom voted yes and three against, including the Vice Chair of the CLF, Rep. Jose Tejada of the 3rd district of North Cotabato.
The SWS survey found 75% or three out of four adult Filipinos nationwide agreed that Congress should renew the franchise of ABS-CBN; 10% were undecided while 13% disagreed.
In Mindanao 80% or 8 out of 10 agreed, followed by Visayas at 77%, Balance of Luzon at 74% and Metro Manila, home to all national television networks, at 69%.
In Mindanao, where a number of areas can access news and entertainment only through ABS-CBN’s free TV, 80% agreed Congress should renew the franchise and out of the 80% who agreed, 61% agreed “strongly” while 19% agreed “somewhat.”
Eight per cent were undecided while 11% disagreed — 7% “strongly” and 5% “somewhat.”
On the issue of press freedom, 56% nationwide agreed that non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise is a major blow to press freedom, 15% were undecided while 27% disagreed.
In Visayas, 59% agreed, followed by Mindanao at 57%, Balance of Luzon at 55% and Metro Manila at 52%.
In Mindanao, out of 57% who agreed it is a major blow to press freedom, 30% agreed “strongly” while 28% agreed “somewhat.” Thirteen per cent were undecided. Of 28% who disagreed, 17% disagreed “strongly” while 11% disagreed “somewhat.”
In his four-year Presidency, Duterte has not hidden his displeasure with ABS-CBN for showing former Senator Antonio Trillanes’ paid advertisement against him a few days before the 2016 Presidential elections. He complained some of his Presidential campaign ads were not aired, repeatedly vowed to sue the station for estafa but did not press charges. He also repeatedly warned their franchise would not be renewed by Congress.
“Ang iyong franchise mag-end next year. If you expect ma-renew ‘yan, I’m sorry. I will see to it that you’re out,” Duterte said in a speech before newly-appointed officials in Malacanang on December 3 last year.
In another speech on December 30, he urged Lopez family to “just sell” the network.
Duterte was an ABS-CBN “Kapamilya” star for 17 years (1998 to 2015) through “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa,” his Sunday program aired on ABS-CBN Channel 4 Davao and its radio station. It was viewed and heard not only by residents of Davao City but also in the other parts of the region and was a regular source of news for reporters in the community and national media.
High ratings from Mindanao
SWS surveys on net satisfaction with the performance of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Duterte administration have shown that since 2016, Mindanao has consistently given him and his administration the highest rates, effectively pulling the nationwide average up.
Out of the 14 SWS surveys on the net satisfaction ratings of President Duterte from September 2016 to December 2019, Mindanao’s ratings averaged +79. It gave him the lowest (+73) in December 2018 and the highest (+88) in March 2019.
In December 2019, Mindanao gave Duterte +81 net satisfaction rating, Visayas +79, National Capital Region +66 and Balance of Luzon +66.
The SWS terminology for net satisfaction ratings is “Excellent” for ratings of +70 and above and “Very Good” for ratings from +50 to +69” and “Good” for +30 to +49.”
Mindanawons gave Duterte “Excellent” ratings in all 14 surveys.
Out of 14 SWS surveys on the net satisfaction with the general performance of the Duterte administration from September 2016 to December 2019, Mindanao’s ratings averaged +76.
Mindanao gave the Duterte administration “Excellent” ratings in 13 of 14 surveys and only one “Very Good” – in September 2018 when it gave it +67 while the National Capital Region gave him +40, the Balance of Luzon +48 and Visayas +42.
In December 2019, Mindanao gave the Duterte administration 81% net satisfaction rating, Visayas 79%, National Capital Region 66% and Balance of Luzon 66%.
“Excellent” and “Very Good” for ABS-CBN
The SWS survey on July 3 to 6 was conducted while the House of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises was debating on the renewal of the franchise.
The SWS also noted that 11 surveys it conducted from October 2000 to December 2018 showed that ABS-CBN is highly trusted by Filipinos nationwide, rating “excellent” in six and “very good” in five.
The SWS said the July 3-6, 2020 National Mobile Phone Survey was a probability-based survey conducted using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) of 1,555 adult Filipinos (18 years old and above) nationwide: 306 in the National Capital Region, 451 in Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside of Metro Manila), 388 in the Visayas, and 410 in Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±5% for Balance Luzon, ±5% Visayas, and ±5% in Mindanao).
“The area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2020 to obtain the national estimates,” the SWS said.
The survey items were non-commissioned, it said, adding that they were “included on SWS’ own initiative and released as a public service.
Asked why the results were released a day after the voting, Mahar Mangahas, SWS President, told MindaNews on Monday: “The results were not yet ready. Remember the interviews took place from July 3 to July 6. Then the data were processed over the next few days. We only knew the survey findings on July 10, during the House voting.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)