MANILA, Philippines – Under the Duterte administration, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has been thrust in the spotlight in numerous instances.
Besides criticisms against the agency itself and its key officials, the use of PCOO’s annual budget – amounting to a total of P1.38 billion in 2018 – was also pointed out, more recently during a recent forum on democracy and disinformation.
The PCOO’s budget in the General Appropriations Act (GAA), however, is not solely for the main office led by Secretary Martin Andanar but also for agencies and bureaus under it.
The PCOO was created in 2010 via Executive Order No. 4 which reorganized the Office of the Press Secretary or OPS. (FAST FACTS: What is the PCOO?)
In budget documents, PCOO’s name first appeared in the 2011 GAA. It was still listed under the OPS, which had the same attached agencies as the current set-up. PCOO replaced OPS as the lead agency from the 2012 GAA onwards.
In the 2018 GAA, PCOO’s total budget stands at P1.38 billion, a 4.4% increase from P1.32 billion in 2017.
Since 2011, the PCOO has received funds ranging from around P900 million to P1.3 billion each year.
PCOO’s allocation, however, includes funds for its attached agencies, or those under its control and supervision.
For 2018, the budget for the PCOO proper (or the office of Secretary Andanar) is P252.5 million, up 9.2% from P231.3 million in 2017. Compared to the PCOO’s budget as a whole, the PCOO proper’s budget is only around a fifth (or 18%) of it.
Of the amount, P178.74 million is allotted for its Presidential Communications Program, while the remaining P73.76 million is for “general administration and support”.
Meanwhile, among PCOO’s attached agencies, the Bureau of Broadcast Services (BBS) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) get the biggest share of the allocations.
Under the BBS is the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) radio network, which runs the Radyo Pilipinas stations led by dzRB, also known as Radyo ng Bayan.
Meanwhile, the PIA is the country’s main development communication arm, serving through an information network spread across the different regions and provinces. It also serves as an advertising and public relations firm for the Office of the President, and for national and local agencies.
Other agencies attached to PCOO, in decreasing order of its share in the budget, are:
- Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), which documents and broadcasts the President’s daily activities on radio, television, and the internet
- News and Information Bureau (NIB), which maintains the newswire service Philippine News Agency (PNA), and formulates a domestic and foreign information program for the government and the presidency
- National Printing Office (NPO), in charge of printing official government forms and public information materials, as well as the official ballots used in elections
- Bureau of Communications Services (BCS), which develops and conducts public information campaigns, and supervises the production of publications and other communication materials for the government and the presidency
The PCOO’s budget does not include funds allocated for the People’s Television Network, Incorporated (PTNI), a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) attached to the PCOO. PTNI runs the TV channel PTV.
PTNI was created in 1992 through Republic Act 7306. The charter of PTNI was amended in 2013 via Republic Act 10390.
This separate line item for the PTNI was first included in the national budget starting in 2014. It received nearly P1 billion each year from 2014 to 2017, part of which is an equity fund from the government “exclusively for the implementation of PTNI’s Revitalization Plan.”
But in 2018, its budget was only P76.1 million. The special provision for an equity contribution was removed.
The PCOO’s budget excludes the budget for communications of other government agencies, which typically have their own public information offices. – Rappler.com