FILE PHOTO: Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Bello III
MANILA, Philippines – State-run television channel People’s Television Network (PTV) is famous for its tagline “Para sa Bayan”.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself once envisioned PTV to serve via its tagline and be a role model of public service and truthful news reporting.
He said PTV should operate like a private company and its template should follow the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in delivering information for the public.
“To better manage public information, a law should be passed – I’m addressing Congress– to create the People’s Broadcasting Corporation, replacing PTV-4, the government-run TV station, which now aims to replicate international government broadcasting networks. Teams from these international news agencies — I’d like to mention those interested BBC — are set to visit the country soon to train people from government-run channels to observe. Ito ang gusto ko — tutal pera naman ng tao — to observe editorial independence through innovative programs and intelligent treatment and analysis of news reports, as well as developments of national and international significance,” the President said during his first state of the nation address (SONA) in 2015.
For Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, he believes that the reporters of the government-owned TV station deserve to be regularized in order to be motivated to deliver high-quality news reporting.
“Bilang nakakaalam po sa regulation pagdating po sa paggawa, dapat po bang i-hire as contract of service maging yung mga field reporters? if you ask me as secretary of labor, I would make recommend them to be regular employees’ para hindi sila mag-engage sa fake news,” Bello said.
But for years and under several administrations, PTV has not solved its problems regarding large number of staff under ‘contract of service’ (COS) status or the so called talents which obviously outnumbers the regular employees.
Bello admits that government offices are limited when it comes to hiring regular employees than private companies as stated in Article IX, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution:
“Appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined, as far as practicable, and, except to positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical, by competitive examination.”
The Civil Service Commission (CSC), meanwhile, said the PTV management should submit first to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) a request for additional plantilla positions in order to regularized additional workers.
Potential employees should also pass the civil service examination to be absorbed for government positions.
“Hindi pwedeng maramihan. Dapat mag-request muna ng position. I-justify kung bakit kailangan nito (at) dapat aprubahan ng DBM,” explained CSC Director Maria Luisa Salonga-Agamata.
Some COS workers in PTV who preferred anonymity said they are still thankful that the station handed them their bonuses though unexpected after some of their colleagues surfaced to report the problems in their employment status.
They hope that their condition will be addressed at the soonest possible time which Secretary Bello supports.
“If you are doing that kind of a job, I would rather have you as a regular employee. Pero kagaya ng sinabi ko, kasi pag submit mo ng budget, may plantilla yan. You create plantilla positions. They try to anticipate kung ano ang pangangailangan ng agency nila and submit yung plantilla,” the Labor Secretary said.
As of this writing, the office of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar has not yet issued an official statement on the matter nor allowed any request for media interview. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)