Bleak New Year for Sugbo news employees



SUSPENDED Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Saturday recorded her message with Sugbo TV despite the closure of the Sugbo TV. JUNJIE MENDOZA/CDN

CEBU CITY—The future of the 35 employees of Sugbo TV and Sugbo News appears bleak after acting Gov. Agnes Magpale shut down the operation of these two province-owned media outlets on Friday.

Magpale told a news conference on Saturday that the closure was just temporary and Sugbo TV would start airing in January.

She explained that the closure stemmed from budgetary concerns and the need to review the programs in the wake of allegation that these were used as propaganda machinery of suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

“The Garcias used the Sugbo TV in campaigning,” Magpale said.

She also asked an executive summary of the functions and duties of the 35 personnel of Sugbo TV and Sugbo News.

Magpale said that although their contracts would expire on Dec. 31, the employees would receive their salary this month and a P30,000-bonus.

There was, however, no assurance that their contracts would be renewed, she added.

The employees might also be assigned to other capitol offices, Magpale said.

Sugbo TV was a 24-hour cable program aired over SkyCable, while Sugbo News was a monthly news magazine of the province.

Both were pet projects of Garcia who has been ordered suspended by Malacañang for six months for grave abuse of authority. She, however, continues to defy the order and has been holed up at the governor’s office since Wednesday. Garcia said she and her family would spend Christmas in her office.

On Friday, Magpale ordered the suspension of the media outlets’ operations and directed the police to guard sensitive offices inside the capitol compound, including the TV facilities.

“They are not an independent media institution; they are adjuncts to the suspended Governor Gwen’s office. The issue on prior restraint is not applicable,” she said.

Magpale said they downloaded episodes aired at Sugbo TV which was used for “campaigning” by the Garcias.

Garcia is running for third district representative, replacing her brother, Rep. Pablo John Garcia who is running for governor under the One Cebu Party.

Magpale, who is running for vice governor, belongs to the Liberal Party whose standard bearer is Hilario Davide III.

Magpale said they would have to reformat some programs so the cable channel would serve its mandate to promote Cebu province.

The budget allocation for the two outlets was also subject to scrutiny during the Provincial Board’s budget hearing last Dec. 10, after the executive asked P8-million budget for Sugbo TV for 2013 from P200,000 this year for its cable operations.

Sugbo News keeps its 2012 budget of P22 million in the 2013 proposed budget.

Aside from the P200,000 allocation in the annual budget, the provincial government also pays P100,000 monthly in airtime to SkyCable and $14,000 (P560,000 in an exchange of $1 to P40) monthly for the satellite feed.

An ordinance institutionalizing the Sugbo TV and Sugbo News is pending at the Provincial Board.

The proposed ordinance seeks to enhance the function of the Public Information Office using Sugbo TV and Sugbo News as vehicles for communication development.

Magpale also said Sugbo News editor, Roger Serna, told her that Sugbo News had ceased printing five months ago.

When reached for comment, Serna denied Magpale’s claim.

“Wrong. Six months our outputs did not come out of the printing press because the purchase request had not been approved,” he said in a text message.

Magpale also suspended capitol-funded radio programs aired in three AM radio stations.

She, however, said that payment would be made as stipulated in the contract, which would expire on December 31.

The letters were sent to radio stations dyLA, dyRF and dyKC, which aired the daily program “One Cebu” or “Hiniusang Sugbo”, the name of the political party led by Garcia.

“Pending the outcome of the review, I am requesting you in my capacity as the acting chief executive of Cebu to immediately restrain and disallow any and all persons from anchoring capitol-paid radio programs in your station, unless prior approval from the undersigned is first sought,” said Magpale’s letter dated Dec. 20.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • EREC

    Sa probensiya din po namin ganyan parang pag aari na ng isang pamilya ang kapitol at mga tourist spot at natural resources ng probensiya. Minsan nga po namigay ng small radio pero iisa lang ang radio channel masasagap yong pag aari lang ng gobernor na radio station. Ngayon yong gobernor ay congressman na………malapit nang bumagsak sila.

    • Pert Cabatana

      just as the Cebuanos are now in the process of dismantling their top dynastic epals, I am glad to know that a similar movement to topple your own dynastic epal is taking place. May this multiply in all places in the Philippines where the dynastic epals still have a strong control of the local socio-politico-economic affairs.

  • LegalJustice

    Good Job, Acting Gov Magpale everything is under control and more power to you and have a nice holiday to your whole family.

    Its good the Cebuanos knows already the machination that these Garcias Family is doing – Other than to build a Dynasty this Ex Gov Garcia to use the Sugbo TV and Radio Station as her propaganda tools.

    I hope the BIR should check her hidden wealth the SALN and the whole family – I can guarantee you there is a lot of stashed money in there personal account especially she’s been a governor for a long time for sure they will find something unusual in it.

    Remember: Mr. Corona telling the Senate that he’s been saving Dollar Account since Grade School – hahaha that was hillarious to the point I almost fell off my chair.

  • PagmataPinoy

    Unless Filipinos misuses or undermines his capacity to think we’ll still be wallowing in misery.

  • Vertumnus

    How convenient for the Garcia’s!  She will leave office so she can run for district representative being vacated by her brother  who in turn is running for the office of Governor being vacated by her sister.  Something smells really bad in Cebu politics.  Seems the Garcia’s are creating a political family dynasty in Cebu, concentrating power unto themselves.
    All they need to do is start killing their political opponents and they will be just like the Ampatuans.

    • indiosbravos2002

      Rigodon lang nangyayari. Cebu being one of the more progressive provinces should see through the Garcia dynasty. Those public positins are not meant to be onopolized by one famiy alone.

  • JohnDoeGB

    I now understand why they have timed the suspension months prior to the elections and days before a long court holiday so that Gwen cannot seek relief from the courts and so that these media fora funded by the provincial government which they believed to be campaign tools for the Garcias get closed and discontinued. They seek discontinuance for the Sugbo TV, Sugbo News and radio programs so that their candidates under the LP can take the reign and possibly win the up-coming elections. Again, these moves are the trade mark of the LP pretending to be morally motivated but actually intentioned to benefit themselves. Can they also suspend other erring local officials under their party? I certainly doubt if they can. They are but another class of corrupt officials. I cannot condone that all of the Philippines will be ruled by LP. Other parties create the balance the political system of our country needs.

  • dante

    Good job Governor Magpale!!!  We have had enough of Gwens face in subo tv and sugbo news,  promoting herself at the expense of public funds.   Spending millions in printing sugbo news? Oh c’mon –  with Gwen’s face all over the pages?   Nobody even bothers to read it in public buses,  too much self-agrandisement.  She have had 9 years of Arroyo’s political favor – your time is up Gwen – the day of judgement is at hand. 

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