Some entertainment shows and movies of broadcast giant ABS-CBN are making a comeback on free television as the public can now watch select programs of the network through A2Z Channel 11 starting Tuesday.
Thanks to an agreement between the Kapamilya network and Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc., Filipinos in Metro Manila and nearby provinces now have the opportunity to watch their favorite programs that were inaccessible on analog television after ABS-CBN’s franchise was denied in the Congress.
A2Z Channel 11 is the newly rebranded Zoe TV, which is owned by Brother Eddie Villanueva of the Jesus is Lord Church. It is available on free television through SkyCable since October 5.
“ABS-CBN and Zoe are committed to work together to provide entertainment, public service programs, and educational content to the public,” the Kapamilya network said in a statement.
Noontime variety show “It’s Showtime” and musical variety show “ASAP Natin ‘To” are some of the programs slated to return on free TV.
A2Z Channel 11 can also be viewed via ABS-CBN TV Plus, SkyCable Channel 11 and Cignal TV Channel 183.
Zoe Broadcasting Network has a legislative franchise to operate AM, FM radio stations in key cities, a VHF TV channel 11 in Mega Manila and UHF TV Channels 33 in Mega Manila and Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
Kapamilya personalities and supporters welcomed the return of the embattled network on free TV months after its application for a fresh legislative franchise was denied by the House of Representatives.
ABS-CBN broadcast journalist Karen Davila expressed her happiness on Twitter and said that she is “praying for the best.”
“It’s OFFICIAL! Praying for the BEST. Salamat Lord. This is a start,” she wrote in response to the announcement.
Pia Magalona, the mother of Kapamilya talent Elmo Magalona, also shared her glee on the network’s comeback.
Happy Birthday to me!! ❤️✨ https://t.co/MWCBH1U6eg
— Pia Magalona ⁷ #DefendOurFreedom (@piamagalona) October 6, 2020
Another Twitter user described it as a sort of “sweet revenge” after the network’s franchise renewal application was killed last July.
“Sweet revenge. Better days are coming. Bitter days naman dun sa mga hindi pabor makabalik ang ABS-CBN,” he said.
“HINDI MATITINAG! Happy to see them back on free TV!!!” another online user exclaimed.
A Filipino also recalled how Vice Ganda of “It’s Showtime” had repeatedly hinted for his viewers to “wait” for something and added that “better days are coming.”
Others hoped that news programs like “TV Patrol” would be able to go back on free TV in the future following the return of the entertainment shows.
“The GREATEST COMEBACK SANA @TVPatrol din on free TV na ulit,” wrote a Twitter user.
“Sana my TV Patrol po. Sana naman!” another online user said with a smiling emoji.
ABS-CBN in July was denied of a fresh legislative franchise that would’ve allowed for it to continue its broadcast operations by airing relevant news and helping communities through its public service affairs programs.
70 lawmakers from the lower house voted against its renewal while 11 had concurred for it to be granted.
The media giant’s radio and television services were shut down last May 5 — the first time since 1972 — in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease-and-desist order after its franchise lapsed.
The closure has made it difficult for Filipinos in far-flung areas with weak mobile signals to receive news and updates, especially when a typhoon visited the country last May.
Twelve franchise hearings were conducted in the lower house to supposedly tackle legal issues surrounding the network’s license renewal which included allegations on foreign ownership and tax evasion.
ABS-CBN has been on hot water ever since President Rodrigo Duterte openly threatened to deny its franchise renewal for supposed “bias” reporting and “swindling” but the company has denied such accusations.