PRESS Secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles believes that the dropping of the joint venture between rivaling networks ABS-CBN and TV5 is a welcome development for People’s Television (PTV) and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), two government-owned networks.
“In a very small part of my head, I tell myself, at least this could give PTV and IBC a chance to grow, because competition is reduced, so we just need to strengthen the two channels,” Cruz-Angeles said during the budget deliberations for the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) at the House of Representatives on Friday.
Meanwhile, former lawmaker and Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon believes the called-off merger was an unfortunate development.
“This is an unfortunate development and bodes ill for the future of business, governance and talent in the Philippines,” Ridon said in a statement. “It shows how extraneous factors can terminate initiatives, which could have raised our standards of public service, culture and innovation. This also serves as a warning to business, that free enterprise will only be free if businesses align with the politics of those in power.”
ABS-CBN and TV5 were supposed to go on a joint venture but was called off on Thursday, because of the Lower House’s decision to investigate the deal.
IBC for privatization?
Meanwhile, a budget is needed for government-owned TV networks, especially IBC, which Cruz-Angeles revealed had zero budget for the 2023 fiscal year.
While Cruz-Angeles presented the proposed budget to the House, she said it was proposed that while P418 million was originally proposed for IBC to the Department of Budget and Management, it was later shown to have no budget in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).
“We asked for personal services, MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses) and capital outlay to continue IBC’s broadcasts, but was zeroed completely, and because of that, we want to appeal this,” Cruz-Angeles told lawmakers. “If IBC is not given a budget, then all workers be laid out and broadcasting would cease by January of next year.”
Cruz-Angeles said the reason why IBC was given zero budget was that it was up for privatization.
“The reason why IBC was given zero was because it was classified as being up for privatization,” Cruz-Angeles explained. “But according to the law, in order for us to privatize IBC, we have to deliver P1 billion for the modernization of PTV. We cannot raise IBC, at this current state. We have to increase its value, but it cannot be done at this stage when the network is forced to close.”
The privatization process of IBC began as early as 2016, but the network’s legislative franchise is set to expire in 2025.
The budget for the OPS is set to P743,335,000. The House of Representatives has moved it to plenary hearings.
Meanwhile, the proposed budget of the Office of the President (OP) under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has been elevated to the plenary level. It was already approved by the Committee on Appropriations level.
House Majority Leader Rep. Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe said during the OP’s budget hearing on Friday that they have decided to terminate the hearings out of courtesy to a co-equal branch of government and elevate the committee to the plenary level.
Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel said he will raise their points in the plenary session concerning the confidential and intelligence funds, as well as the fund in the oversight of the national security programs under the OP.
Executive Secretary Victor “Vic” Rodriguez thanked the committee for their support for the office’s budget.
The OP has proposed a budget of P9 billion for the 2023 fiscal year.
ARIC JOHN SY CUA
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Author: The Manila Times