Monday, November 26, 2012

Philippine Government 2013 National Budget

By Jelly Musico

The Senate Monday approved at the plenary the proposed P1.312-billion budget of the Presidential Communication Operations Office for 2013 even as Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada urged the government to address concerns of over 200 retrenched employees of RPN Channel 9.

The PCOO's budget is 25 percent higher as compared to the current P1.047-billion appropriation with the Bureau of Broadcast Services to get biggest share amounting to P336.6 million followed by Philippine Information Agency (PIA) with P274.3 million budget.

The Presidential Broadcast Staff will get the third highest budget amounting to P202.2 million followed by PCOO proper with P172.1 million, National Printing Office with P165.79 million, News and Information Bureau which has PNA as one attached office with P115 million and Bureau of Communication Services with P45.9 million.

Assisted by PCOO Secretary Herminio Coloma, Senate committee on finance chairman Sen. Franklin Drilon said the government's three channels including PTV-4 have not been getting subsidy from the government.

"They have not been getting (a) single cent of subsidy from the government. They depend on their (respective) revenues," Drilon answered Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Drilon said Senators Loren Legarda and Gregorio Honasan have filed bills allotting P5 billion 'makeover' of the PTV 4.

He said the IBC Channel 13 relies heavily on the revenues from block timer AKTV of Manny V. Pangilinan while RPN Channel 9 is 34 percent owned by Solar, 32 percent by Benedicto Group, 20 percent by government and 16 percent by stockholders.

"Channel 13 is expected to generate about P50 million this year. PTV 4 is not earning money while Channel 9 is incurring losses," Drilon revealed.

Drilon said that based on the 2011 financial statement, RPN 9 suffered financial losses of more than P120 million "and therefore, incurring a capital deficiency of more than P2 billion."

With this, Estrada urged the government to address the concerns of 213 retrenched employees and workers of RPN 9 who held rally outside the Senate compound in Pasay City.

"I'm really concerned about the plight of the retrenched workers of RPN 9. I hope the governent can do something with regards to the balance of what they should have accepted that was put in the CBA. That's all Mr. President. I do not have any objection with regard to the budget of PCOO," Estrada said.

Drilon admitted that the separation benefits of the retrenched RPN 9 employees remain not fully paid due to 'financial constraint'.

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