Gov't privatizing RPN 9, IBC 13

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 01 2011 05:51 PM | Updated as of Mar 02 2011 08:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The government will privatize sequestered television networks RPN 9 and IBC 13, and retain only NBN Channel 4, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma said Tuesday.

“By policy, President Aquino would want us to divest ourselves of the 2 erstwhile private networks that were sequestered in 1986 because according to law, there is only one government television network, and that is People’s Television Network Inc. (Channel 4),” Coloma told reporters.

RPN 9, which is first on the list, will be signing off, albeit only temporary.

"Temporary because they will enter into a new programming concept due to their block time agreement with Solar. 'Yung Solar papalitan yung programming ng Channel 9 and they will adopt the entire programming of ETC, 'yung entertainment channel sa cable. But they will be carrying that now on free TV which is Channel 9," noted Coloma.

The government only holds a 30% stake in RPN 9, following an equity infusion made by Solar Entertainment and a Supreme Court decision awarding a portion of the network to Far East Managers and Investors Inc., an organization affiliated with the estate of the late Ambassador Roberto Benedicto.

RPN 9 and IBC 13 were sequestered after the popular revolt in 1986 ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted the late President Corazon Aquino, mother of President Benigno Aquino, to office.

Coloma gave assurance that employees of RPN 9 will retain their jobs after the privatization.

"Walang mangyayari sa kanila, buo ang sweldo nila, buo ang benepisyo nila. Status quo. Walang pinagbago. Magbabago lang yung programa, yung itsura ng lalabas sa screen. Pero yung mga emplyado na nagtatrabaho, they stay in their places, their employment is secure. They remain employees of the network. There is no impact on the employees."

Coloma said President Aquino wants to amend the charter of NBN Channel 4 to allow the network to broaden its revenue base and find other budgetary support.

He explained that Channel 4 was only allowed to solicit ads during the first 10 years after its charter was signed into law in 1992.

From 2002 onwards, Channel 4 was only allowed to get “institutional revenues” through the advertising support of state agencies like PAGCOR and PCSO.

Coloma said the government also wants Channel 4 to become a “public service channel” that will carry more news, traffic and weather updates." - Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News