Adventists in the Philippines and beyond are rejoicing over a new milestone for Adventist broadcasting in the country. After years of effort, Hope Channel Philippines (HCP) was recently granted a multi-year license to continue its broadcasting ministry throughout the Philippines.
According to April 8 local news reports, HCP was among six broadcasting franchises granted broadcasting privileges or whose license was extended to 25 years as signed into law by the country's president.
Since 2011, HCP has been a source of education and encouragement for the people of the Philippines. Its three stations reach homes in the south, central and north that cannot be reached in other ways. However, in order to continue this vital ministry, HCP needed approval for a long-term license renewal.
The license process has been a long and, at times, difficult one. With fervent prayers and diligent attention to the paperwork and process involved, HCP President Jonathan Catolico, Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) Media Director Nelson Paulo, union communication directors, and countless prayer partners persevered. Along with a dedicated legal team, they devoted several years to ensuring that HCP would be given an opportunity for license renewal.
“The renewal of the franchise was a real challenge, as it needed funds and a powerful influence to hasten the process in the legislation,” noted Joel Sarmiento, North Philippine Union Conference communication director. He continued, “We lacked both, but we have a God who engages people who are committed to advance His work.”
God provided one such committed person in Neil Abayon. As a young Adventist congressman with an undergraduate degree from the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP), he feels HCP is of great value to the country. Accordingly, Abayon sponsored the initial measure in the House of Representatives of the Philippines. “From the start I have been very vocal to my colleagues that this is a franchise for service - bringing good news to the Filipino people through programs on health, wellness and spirituality…Because of that [HCP’s work], we had support from my colleagues,” he explained.
“God’s special attention to this application had been very clear,” said Paulo, who served as HCP president at the time the bill was submitted for deliberation in Congress. “It was at the first hearing in Congress that there was a question about a lack of pertinent documents, but God intervened in a miraculous way,” he concluded.
Abayon added, “We were really blessed that we did not face that many challenges on my side in Congress despite the short time frame that we had. Although the first committee hearing lasted about one hour, we were still really fortunate considering that other franchise applicants had more than five hearings. Again, it’s because [the work of] this franchise benefits Filipino people everywhere.”
The measure next went to the Senate of the Philippines where it was approved. The long journey reached its end when it was finally signed into law and HCP could officially begin 25 years of broadcasting. Adventists throughout the country praised God for this new chapter for HCP.
“We have a great reason to celebrate Hope Channel’s newest achievement,” said Catolico. “Our mission to preach the end-time message through television was given a new lease on life. This revitalizes the Adventist church's approach in the Philippines to take the gospel to people where they are and especially to those who have no interest in traditional evangelism,” he added.