MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law a measure which seeks to revitalize PTV-4, or the People’s Television Network, Inc., via a P5 billion infusion from the government.
In a press conference, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Republic Act 103901 also allows the government network to collect commercial revenues.
He noted that out of the P5 billion, P3 billion would be sourced from the General Appropriations Act in the next three years (P1 billion/year) while the remainder will be sourced from revenues generated from advertising and airtime sales.
The government-run network has been in a state of “financial hemorrhage” due to lack of a stable source of income.
“So it was important that the new law provided for new capitalization and permitted the network to generate commercial revenues, so that there will be a stable source of sustenance for the network,” Coloma said.
The law also creates an advisory council “to advise the network on relevant programming that will bolster the character of PTV as a public service broadcasting network,” and the shifting of focus towards a “new global best practice of public service broadcasting which means that government television becomes an active partner or an active instrument for promoting the public welfare.”
He said PTV-4 will invite various sectors to give suggestions on programs that will be beneficial to viewers.
No commercial telenovelas
He added PTV-4 will allow block-time programming as long as “it is focused on education, history, propagation of Philippine culture and quality entertainment.”
This means the station will focus on “news and public information,” he said. It will not compete with other private stations, he said.
“We do not intend to produce entertainment shows like the telenovela of the type that they have produced. Perhaps we can have a telenovela featuring the heroism of our Medal of Valor or Gold Cross awardees, or of the Dangal ng Bayan awardees of the civil service, or outstanding public school teachers, outstanding policemen, soldiers,” Coloma said.
He said that the new law will “also enable the network to keep abreast with latest technological developments” such as digital television and transmission upgrades to improve signal quality.
“We all know that by 2015, the ASEAN standard will be digital television. We have made some acquisitions of basic digital equipment in our studios now but we need to do more. Of course, we are still awaiting the promulgation of official policy on digital television but we’re confident that we can keep abreast with the rest of ASEAN and with the commercial broadcasting industry,” Coloma said.
“Because when digital transmission is fully in place, we will also be able to multiply the channels of government television—from one free TV station to at least two more cable stations—and we may be able to dedicate the cable stations to educational programming or cultural programming. There are also those who say that we should have programs on Philippine history and culture,” he said.