Thursday, 21 March 2013

Malacañang is set to dispose of the two bankrupt sequestered television networks, the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp. (IBC) Channel 13 and the Radio Philippines Network  (RPN) Channel 9, but will maintain the equally bankrupt People’s Television Channel 4 and IBC remains the undisputed number 3  has caught the interest of telecommunication giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Viva Entertainment of CEO and chairman Vic del Rosario, Jr., a source said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Secretary Sonny Coloma  yesterday declared that after the signing by Presi-dent Aquino of Republic Act 103901, now known as “An Act Revitalizing the People’s Television Network Incorporated” this would pave the way for the government to sell the “bleeding-non-performing assets.” Coloma said the Aquino admi-nistration was met with the problem of PTV-4 network that has been expe-riencing financial hemorrhage and is currently cash strapped in resolving the problem of payment of salaries of employees as well as its continuously bloating debts from various suppliers, unpaid electric bills, taxes, PhilHealth premiums and GSIS premiums.

“That is a network that is experiencing financial hemorrhage and President Aquino at once recognized that the problem had to be addressed strategically,” Coloma said. PTV-4 is being utilized by the Palace as one of its propaganda arms to generate funds from advertising and airtime sales.

Coloma said “there was an initial capitalization of P 1 billion  and, by the time we took on the  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 to say the network treasury has no money”. “As of the time that the Aquino administration took over, the only revenues were coming from two government agencies, namely Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. or Pagcor, and these two agencies were contributing to the revenues that were used to keep the network afloat,” Coloma said. Coloma said Aquino directed the crafting of a proposed bill, that later on, this bill was included in the priority list of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac).

“So we worked on the Senate and the Congress to pass a new charter for the People’s Television that had two important features: number one, infusion by government of fresh capitalization in the amount of P 5 billion pesos; and, number two, giving the network authority to collect commercial revenues,” Coloma said.

In the old charter, RA 7306, the network was given a period of 10 years within which to collect commercial revenues. “After which it was prohibited from doing so, and we are told this was because of the objections of the private commercial networks that PTV or the government television might pose a direct competition to commercial TV in terms of revenue generation.

“That was the rationale for giving the network only 10 years within which to achieve financial viability and stability,” Coloma said. Coloma explained that according to the law, P3 billion will be appropriated in the General Appropriations Act. Since there are three years remaining on this administration.

“Notionally, we wish to be able to get this in tranches of at least P1 billion a year starting with the 2014 budget,” Coloma said. Coloma said his office has been doing the financial coordination with the Department of Budget for the timely release of the funds while waiting for the proceeds of the disposal of the two government networks. “We are working closely with the DBM on the amount and the timing of the release of the tranches. The remaining P2 billion, according to the law, will be the derived from the proceeds of the privatization of IBC and RPN.

“As you know, IBC is still 100 percent owned by the government and it will be privatized under the auspices of the Governance Commission of Government Corporations (GCG). Chairman Cesar Villanueva and his team are working closely with us so we can come up with the guidelines for the privatization and get this done soon,” Coloma said. Coloma said that with respect to the privatization of RPN-9, “ RPN-9 ceased to be a government corporation after July 2010 when the Supreme Court awarded 32 percent of ownership to the Roberto Benedicto group. Effectively at present, private equity accounts for 66 percent of the equity structure of RPN. The other 34 percent belongs to Solar Entertainment which obtained this through a debt-to-equity conversion sometime in 2009 or 2010”. Coloma said the government holds a minority position of 20.8 percent. “But there is still a significant amount of liabilities owed by the network to the government so this will have to be factored into the proposed privatization package. We are working on this together with the Privatization Management Office and the economic management cluster,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the Aquino administration continues to prosecute those officials in the past administration who had abused and exploited the government networks.

“Following this administration’s commitment to good governance, we will pursue proper administrative or legal action against people that are found to have been involved in whatever irregularities that could be properly documented or substantiated,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the employees of the networks would be informed of the new developments on labor relations. “There is specific provision in the law that allows the Board of Directors and the management to implement a reorganization of the network. And it also says there that provided an employee has rendered at least one year of service, such employee may be entitled to retirement and/or separation benefits. The employees will be properly informed and they will be duly consulted as one of the relevant stakeholders. So we would like them to get involved in the process of working out what is properly due them,” Coloma said.

Coloma stressed that the government network has plans to be at par with the private networks in terms of technical capabilities. “That is what we want to achieve. Just to give you an eyeball of the situation: When I traveled to Zamboanga City a few months ago, well, I wanted to know if I could watch PTV to retain and use all fees and other revenues for its operations and capital expenditures, because Zamboanga is far away from Manila, and I did.

In the hotel room where I stayed that had cable TV facilities, the transmission via the cable carrier was locally available, the transmission of PTV programs continues to make itself as the alternative television network, giving priority to give its viewers a balanced mix of high-quality news and public affairs, cultural and educational, and sports programs with a bottom-dweller in the primetime ratings with the popularly of the university basketball league for the PBA D-League games for the TV viewership ratings as well as its sports coverage like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and Olympic Games. Meanwhile, the award-winning educational and cultural programs like Tele-Aralan ng Kakayahan, Ating Alamin, Paco Park Presents, Mag-Agri Tayo!, and educatioinal programming CONSEL: Counting Studies via Television aimed at upgrading teaching skills of elementary and secondary teachers of Science and English. Institutionalized by Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), CONSTEL Science and English are being used in teacher training by the Regional and Divisional Leader Schools of the Department of Education, culture and Sports and in Teacher Education Institutions of the Commission on Higher Education. A children's noontime cartoon programs like Cartoon Hour for kids, and with the PTV's flagship national news programs like PTV Sports, Balitaan, Good Morning Boss!, News@1, News@6 and NewsLife beginning to show in audience ratings of the competition. It varies from one city to another depending on the quality of transmission,” Coloma said to establish and build its main broadcast center and major provincial stations, for possible expansion.

At the IBC headquarters at Broadcast City, Capitol Hills, Diliman, Quezon City, Lito detailed the future of the network and what great things this new board has in store. Also which intends to increase its award-winning cultural, current events and children's programming like Cooltura, KapinoyLand, Barney & Friends, Danze sa TV, Sesame Street and Lunch Break as well as its flagship news program Express Balita and Nes Team 13 together with public service program Linawin Natin, Good Take, Snooky and Bitag.

Viva Entertainment, led by chairman and CEO Vic del Rosario, Jr., has been providing content for IBC. It also providing the films, TV, music recording, sports, cable channels and many more from Viva that the station still has commercial value despite its contract with Viva Entertainment, added that Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation or IBC for the Kapinoy network, which operates radio and television stations nationwide to raise its advertising rates im the Kapamilya and Kapuso networks. IBC's FM radio station iDMZ 891, now is the #1 urban music and danze mix FM radio station will target the A-B-C markets. IBC is in VHF TV programming, radio broadcasting, kids and merchandising, the network which pioneered various genres in TV production. As long as IBC remains the network with its innovative and creative core intact, the dream of reaching the top is not so far away.

Coloma said the privatization of IBC 13 has been already going-on as the Board of Directors of IBC channel 13 headed by Chairman Eric Canoy has already met with Chairman Cesar Villanueva of the GCG supplements its monthly income with its earnings from Viva and other block timers, as well as with RPN 9's rental of the facilities. IBC recently the Kapinoy Network became more aggressive with its surging ahead in the TV ratings companions, the dominance of the two leading networks ABS-CBN (Channel 2) and GMA Network (Channel 7) start to bring in more viewers, for making IBC, the undisputed number 3 leading network, thanks to popular basketball for the NBA and PBA games, boxing matches and the Viva programs from the imported Korean asianovelas, Mexican telenovelas, the Viva Tagalog movies and the Japanese anime series will target the A-B-C market, as well as the popular and top-rating phenomenal game shows like The Weakest Link and Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and the reality search show Born to be a Star which have helped IBC-13 rise from its financial slump and mediocre ratings.

IBC, by the way, is now operating profitably due to their agreement of blocktime revenues with the partnership of Viva Communications, Inc. Based on reports by media research group Kantar Media, IBC-13 now reaching the number 3 position among TV network at the same point in the audience share and the ratings, with all the Top 10 shows belonging to the network, and the first in the Philippine television to be the number 3 after its relaunch last 1998,” Coloma said. Coloma said the office of PTV 4 although a government corporation is still under the supervision of the Commission on Audit.

He said the board of directors are to be appointed by the President as required by law.

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