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Disgruntled PTV-4, IBC-13 workers join Sona rally.

Byline: Kristine Angeli Sabillo

MANILA -- In 2011, President Benigno Aquino III vowed to improve and modernize the People's Television (PTV) Network so it won't "lag behind."

Four years later, the PTV Employees Association (PTEA) claim that not much has changed and that the situation has even worsened.

PTV-4 and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) workers were among the people who joined the protests during Aquino's fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday.

"Sa tagal ng matiyagang paghihintay ng mga PTV employees, naranasan ng mga empleyado ang kapabayaan, panlalait at pagnanakaw ng mga PCOO (Presidential Communications Operations Office) 'appointed people' sa PTV Network. Ang mga benepisyo at pondong dapat sana ay sa PTV employees ay lantarang kinukurakot ng mga tao ni Secretary (Herminio) Coloma," a joint statement said.

(Amid the long and patient wait of PTV employees, they were neglected, humiliated and stolen from by PCOO's 'appointed people' in the PTV Network. The benefits and funds that should have gone to PTV employees were openly stolen by the Secretary Coloma's people.)

But Coloma said the accusations were "unfounded and baseless."

"Since we took over PTV and IBC management, we dealt with financial bankruptcy and good housekeeping rules," he told INQUIRER.net

On the other hand, PTEA said PTV's performance has been on a decline amid the appointment of additional people from the PCOO, which is headed by Coloma.

INQUIRER.net earlier reported on PTEA's accusations that the PCOO has allegedly been accommodating people by assigning them as PTV consultants or contractuals.

PTEA said the number of contract of service (COS) employees ballooned during the Aquino administration. It said PTV now has 279 regular employees and 278 COS workers and talents.

PTEA Vice President Angie Arguelles then told INQUIRER.net that the PCOO also violated the law by letting consultants head departments.

But Coloma said they did not violate any law and that the contractual employees were "essential to network operations."

DAP funds

Earlier this month, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released a list of the projects and programs funded by the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was later declared partly unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Of the P144 billion released, P342,536,605 went to the People's Television Network, Inc. (PTNI).

Coloma said the funds were allocated to address PTNI's financial bankruptcy and to pay for employees' salaries and operating expenses.

"Funds were authorized to be released to PTNI through PCOO to ensure that employees' salaries are paid on time and to keep the government television network running while the new law was going through the legislative process," Coloma said, referring to the then proposed version of Republic Act 10390, which aimed to infuse the government network with additional capital.

PTEA, however, said only a small portion of the DAP funds went to PTV.

It added that employees are still asking for a salary increase after eight years of stagnant wages.

It said the purchase of additional equipment should be complemented by the improved situation and welfare of the employees.

Arguelles said they want the DAP funds to be accounted for.

Documents obtained by the INQUIRER.net showed that of the P342 million in DAP funds allotted to the PTV through the PCOO, P73,004,351 or 21.3 percent went to personal services (PS), P52,605,884 went to maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and P216,926,370 went to capital outlay.

A large portion of the MOOE went to "other professional service" (P20.56 million) while the capital outlay was allotted for the rehabilitation of facilities and purchase of equipment.

A breakdown of the amount showed that the PS was set to be utilized for only three months (October, November and December of 2012). The MOOE was spread out from October 2012 to March 2013 while the CO was scheduled for January and February 2013.

IBC privatization

The joint statement said IBC employees have also been complaining of appointed officials who allegedly use the network as a "milking cow."

It said many of the employees have yet to receive their benefits and that IBC workers can only hope for privatization to improve their situation.

Coloma said the government has already "engaged DBP, as directed by the Governance Commission to oversee the IBC privatization."
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 29, 2014
Words:708
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