Senator Richard Gordon | SENATE PRIB PHOTO

Senator Richard Gordon hit the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for having too many officials in the department. 

“Ako may criticism ako, wag kayong magagalit ha. Ang dami niyong undersecretaries. Ang dami niyong assistant secretaries, ang dami niyong general managers,” Gordon explained as the Senate started to deliberate the proposed P1.59 billion budget of the PCOO and its attached agencies for 2021.

“Ako, you might see on the Red Cross, I minimize the expenses. I get the people that I really need,” he added.

According to the PCOO’s website, the agency currently has one secretary, five undersecretaries, seven assistant secretaries, and six directors. Meanwhile, its attached agencies and bureaus also have their respective heads. 

Gordon made the comment as he chaired the PCOO’s budget hearing and after asking the agency of its plans to improve and modernize broadcast operations. 

“The point is you really have to choose where you wanna fight. You cannot spend all your money in so many things,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Imee Marcos also revealed that the bulk of the PCOO’s proposed budget was reserved for personnel service and maintenance and other operating expenses. 

“‘Yung gastos ninyo, ‘yung personnel services and MOOE nasa P1.4 billion samantalang ‘yung budget ninyo P1.5 billion lang, so P100 million na lang yata ang natira. Kaya nga ako nagtataka kasi puro sahod at saka MOOE eh we are talking about engineering and we are asking you to focus on engineering sana,” she said.

“Isantabi muna ‘yung mga development academy, ‘yung devcomm, ‘yung mga kung anu-ano. Tutok muna tayo sa pamimili ng equipment. Eh kaso mukhang tutok tayo sa sahod,” she added.

However, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar defended the budget and said that the upgrade of equipment of the People’s Television Network, IBC-13, and Philippine Broadcasting Service, were included in their original budget request. 

Amid the issue, the Senate panel just approved the agency’s budget but requested it to create an adjusted modernization plan which the agency will discuss when they meet with the Senate plenary. RJ Espartinez