SENATORS ASK WHY BULK OF PCOO BUDGET WENT TO SALARIES INSTEAD OF EQUIPMENT
Some senators on Tuesday questioned why the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) spent nearly all of its P1.73-billion budget this year on salaries and operational costs when its broadcast agencies had to be modernized.
The PCOO asked senators for additional funds in 2021 to upgrade its broadcast facilities across the country, but this year, the agency spent P1.65 billion for salaries and maintenance expenses, while only P79.22 million was allocated for the purchase of new broadcast equipment.
According to its website, the PCOO has 5 undersecretaries, 7 assistant secretaries and 6 directors.
Its attached agencies – including the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Bureau of Communications Services (BCS), News and Information Bureau (NIB), Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13), and the People’s Television Network (PTV) – each have their respective directors and managers that add up to the bureaucracy.
Under its proposed P1.59-billion budget for 2021, the PCOO earmarked P79.23 million for the improvement of its physical assets, but the bulk of the fund is allocated for the construction of the “Government Communications Academy” and the “improvement” of the PIA’s parking area.
The breakdown of the PCOO’s proposed capital outlay for 2021 is as follows:
– P52.35 million – Government Communications Academy
– P13.15 million – ICT equipment for RTVM
– P5.24 million – ICT equipment for PBS
– P4.17 million – ICT equipment for BCS
– P2.55 million – PIA parking area improvement and perimeter fencing
– P1.77 million – ICT equipment and software for NIB
Sen. Imee Marcos urged the agency to shelve some of its programs – like a training academy for media students – and realign the funds to modernize its 13 to 16 stations nationwide.