MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno S. Aquino III signed into law a measure that will “revitalize” the operations of state-owned and -operated television station People’s Television Network, Inc. or PTV-4.
"I am happy to announce that President Aquino signed into law Republic Act 10390, an Act Revitalizing the People’s Television Network, on March 14," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in a Malacañang press conference on Wednesday, March 20.
RA No. 103901 amends RA No. 7306 and is called “An Act Providing for the Establishment of the People’s Television Network, Incorporated, Defining Its Powers and Functions, Providing for Its Sources of Funding and for Other Purposes.”
GMA Network, Inc. strongly opposed the government’s plan to privatize state-owned broadcast station People’s Television Network, Inc. (PTV) as it would be unfairly competing with private players
Coloma said the new law addresses two main problems of PTV-4: the “financial hemorrhage” marked by the depletion of the station’s capital and the lack of a stable source of income.
P5-B fresh capital unfair?
The new charter for PTV-4 provides for a fresh capital infusion of P5 billion.
Out of this, P3 billion would be sourced from the General Appropriations Act in the next 3 years -- P1 billion every year.
The P2 billion remainder will be sourced from revenue generated from advertising and airtime sales.
“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 stressed.
These provisions were the subject of a complaint expressed in December 2012 by Felipe L. Gozon, chair of GMA-7 operator GMA Network Inc.
Gozon had said it is "very unfair" that PTV-4 will receive funds from the national budget derived from the taxes collected from and paid by taxpayers, which include commercial broadcasters.
While receiving subsidies from the taxes and fees paid by broadcasting institutions, the network will be competing with the same companies for the source of income providing the said funds: commercial ads and airtime.
Gozon had claimed that PTV-4 will have the upper hand in competing with the private sector in terms of generating ad revenue since the state-funded competitor can provide airtime value at lower rates, which may diminish the ability of private broadcasters to attract ad revenues.
“If they want to sell airtime then they have to remove the subsidy. We pay billions in taxes and part of those taxes will be used by PTV 4,” stressed Gozon.