I can tell they’ve pocketed money: Tulfo says of ex-PTV network execs | Inquirer News

I can tell they’ve pocketed money: Tulfo says of ex-PTV network execs

/ 10:07 PM October 10, 2022
Senator Raffy Tulfo has dared past heads of the People’s Television Network (PTV) to attend Senate hearings, saying that he can actually look them in the eye and say that they had pocketed government money.

Sen. Raffy Tulfo during a hybrid hearing at the Senate. Senate PRIB file photo / Bibo Nueva Espana

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Raffy Tulfo has dared past heads of the People’s Television Network (PTV) to attend Senate hearings, saying that he can actually look them in the eye and say that they had pocketed government money.

During the briefing of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) budget before the Senate finance subcommittee on Monday, Tulfo raised several observations about the said network, which he used to work for in the early days of his broadcasting career.

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Tulfo noted that the parking area has not been renovated since he used to work for PTV, adding that new areas that used public funds for constructions were turned into storage areas.

“PTV is still how it was when I left the network, for your information.  I was a reporter and an anchor there, Mr. Chair.  What I saw when I was there, especially the parking lot, it is still how it was up to now, it’s in a sorry state, it’s a pity and painful thing,” Tulfo said in Filipino.

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“When I was a rookie reporter there, the parking lot already looked like that, and it has not changed.  It really looks like that — cars are parked disorderly, this part was renovated but it was not utilized, it is now a storage area.  They spent millions but it looks like a storage facility,” he added, while showing a footage of what’s inside PTV’s facilities.

Tulfo said the past general managers and the chairpersons sitting on PTV’s posts have just pocketed the funds that would have made the PTV better — suggesting that the committee should oblige the past officials of the state-run television network to appear before the Senate.

He also clarified that he was unable to bring the issue up, including improper wages for employees, because he was not yet a regular employee back then and may be fired as a repercussion.

“I can tell you what they did, maybe they are corrupt and bagged the PTV-4 budget for themselves.  What happened to the money that should’ve been for our 13th month pay?  Maybe they pocketed it.  You will call them out, but you would be fired because you are not a regular employee, you’re just a talent.  Who was Raffy Tulfo back then to call these things out, I would just be fired,” he said.

“There is massive corruption in PTV-4, if it is possible, maybe we could ask all past GMs and chairmen there, we would grill them.  I can, I will look in their eyes and I will tell them that they pocketed money that’s why PTV is in a sorry state, because if they didn’t steal money, PTV-4 would have been in a better situation,” he added.

Furthermore, the senator stressed that PTV employees are underpaid despite being on the frontlines of the government’s efforts to inform the public, and even as they are usually a source of information for other networks.

In response, Undersecretary Rowena Reformina who handles OPS’ broadcast division said that they would support any call for accountability.  She also noted that there was no movement in terms of promotions or salary increases because a new table has to be approved by the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), or the Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC).

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PTV is a GOCC managed by the OPS.

“Let me begin in saying that the Office of Press Secretary fully supports any call for accountability regardless whatever agency or office of government. We fully support that as Office of the Press Secretary,” Reformina said.

“There has been no movement whatsoever in promotions or salary increases. At least main movements for the past 15 years precisely because, there needs to be a new table of organization duly approved by the GCG. What we did, we’ve transmitted a table of organization proposal assisted by the Development Academy of the Philippines,” she added.

During the same hearing, the senators also asked OPS, represented by officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, about the budget for IBC-13, another state-run television network.

IBC received no funding for 2023, as it is up for privatization.  However, former Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles also asked for the reconsideration of the IBC budget as it would affect employees.

Without a budget, IBC can only operate for six months starting 2023. With reports from Catherine Dabu, INQUIRER.net trainee

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Palace press chief asks Congress to reconsider IBC-13 ‘zero budget’ 

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