House OKs bill slashing rates for political ads by 50 percent

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  • House approved bill giving a 50 percent discounted rate for political ads
  • Fariñas explained measure meant to stop media outlets from exploiting candidates
  • He also said it would curb the practice of candidates from being beholden to financiers

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill which would slash the rates of political advertisements by half.

“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,” read House Bill 6604 which was approved 185-0.

The bill also prevents candidates from being charged rates different from regular advertisers while giving the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) the power to regulate the prices for such ads.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said the bill effectively seeks to close a loophole in Republic Act 9006 (Fair Elections Act) being used by media outlets to enrich themselves at the candidates’ expense.

“This practice by certain media outlets proved too cumbersome for most candidates, who have meager campaign resources to avail of political advertisement in television, radio and print media,” the Philippine Star quoted him as saying.

Fariñas referred to the practice of some outlets that double their original rates in order to offset the current discounts offered for TV, radio and print advertisements.

Under the current law, TV ads can be discounted by 30 percent, radio for 20 percent, and print for 10 percent.

The solon also said the bill will allow candidates with less resources to be able to reach out to the public without becoming indebted to a financier who may have his own vested interests.

“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 said, referring to the oft-practice of political candidates seeking sponsors for their campaign kitty.

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