Solons seek higher PCOO budget increase amid recent blunders

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2017 09:41 PM

MANILA—Several lawmakers on Friday proposed a bigger budget for the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) following recent blunders of the agency.

The 2018 budget proposal of the PCOO is P22.3 million or 1.63 percent lower than its 2017 budget P1.373 billion.
 
Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Lito Atienza expressed disappointment that the PCOO budget does not include the proposed P76 million budget of PTV 4 and other government television stations.

"Mr. Speaker, I'm proposing that the PCOO be given not only a double but triple budget. And I request that they make representation to the Senate so that they can work it out in the bicameral conference committee. Maybe provide P10 billion for communications," he said.
 
Parañaque Rep. Eric Olivarez, sponsor of the PCOO budget, said PTV 4 and other attached agencies of PCOO proposed an original budget of P700 million but the Department of Budget and Management slashed this to P76 million.

Minority Floor Leader Danilo Suarez urged the PCOO to come up with positive ideas, hire a good marketing manager, or explore good programs abroad which can guide the three government television networks: PTV 4, RPN 9, which is now in partnership with CNN Philippines, and Channel 13.

He said the minority will work with PCOO to come up with a comprehensive approach on how to properly use the agency's fund and make TV and radio stations profitable.
 
Bukidnon Rep. Manuel Zubiri said the additional P1.051 billion being requested by the PCOO should be granted so its equipment can be modernized. 
 
"Let us help the PCOO uplift the services and provide them with all the things they need, so that in return, they can give us proper and credible information which our countrymen need. I hope that we will heed to the request of the PCOO sa kanilang hinihingi na additional budget," he said.
 
ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, meanwhile, asked why there is no allocation for the salary of 384 employees of the National Printing Office (NPO).
 
NPO is in-charge of printing of highly confidential documents, including ballots during elections.
 
"Ang proposed budget para sa ahensiyang ito ay P9.899 million. Ano po ang ibig sabihin nito? Wala pong appropriation kahit man lang doon sa sweldo ng 384 employees ng NPO para sa buong taon ng 2018. Sa minimum at kinunsulta ko po ang union ng NPO, ang hinihingi po nila ay at least P94.5 million," Tinio said.

PNA found itself the subject of criticism anew after photos surfaced of news headlines that included editor's notes and instructions to its staff, Friday afternoon.

Following the blunder, PCOO Undersecretary Jose Joel Sy Egco said incidents of "negligence, incompetence or even sabotage if proven, will be dealt with accordingly."