By TJ Burgonio, Philippine Daily Inquirer (March 20th, 2013)
MANILA, Philippines—More than two years after rescuing it from “financial hemorrhage,” the government is infusing P5 billion into the state-run People’s Television Network 4 to make it “digitally competitive.’’
President Aquino has signed into law Republic Act 103901, or the Act Revitalizing PTV Inc., authorizing the infusion of fresh capital into the government TV network.
The government would pump in P3 billion from the national budget beginning 2014, and source the P2 billion from the privatization of Radio Philippines Network (RPN 9) and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp. (IBC 13).
Apart from authorizing the infusion of fresh capital, the law allows PTV 4 to collect advertising revenues, said Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
“The objective is really to upgrade our equipment so that we are able to increase the clarity of our signal and the clarity of transmission to all places in the country,” he said at a Malacañang news briefing. “We are committed to doing what is needed in order that our technical capability will be of such level that it allows us to make effective transmissions to the farthest corners of the Philippines.’’
But Coloma stressed that PTV 4 would focus on news and public information, and would not attempt to compete with the commercial TV networks.
If it airs a telenovela, it would be about the life of a recipient of the Medal of Valor, Gold Cross or Dangal ng Bayan, he said.
Coloma said PTV-4 was “hemorrhaging’’ and surviving on doles from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp., and President’s discretionary funds when the Aquino administration took office in July 2010.
It was supposed to get some P200 million in a “congressional insertion” in 2010 but then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vetoed it because there was no funding source, he said.
“There was an initial capitalization of P1 billion and, by the time we took on management of the network in July of 2010, the financial hemorrhage had already taken place and the capitalization of the network had been fully depleted. That means its treasury had no money,’’ he said.
The government has “good leads’’ on personalities who played a role in the depletion of the network’s funds, Coloma said.
The law, which amends Republic Act 7306 or the Charter of the People’s Television Network, also allows the TV network to generate funds from advertising and airtime sales.