COA warns suspension of P232.9-M equipment transaction made by PTV-4

Published October 24, 2020, 11:29 PM

by Ben Rosario

The Commission on Audit has threatened to suspend the P232.97 million transaction made by the state-run broadcast station People’s Television Network Inc. in procuring information and communications technology equipment last year.

In the 2019 annual audit report released recently by COA, the state audit agency also questioned the “legality, validity and propriety” of the payment of salaries of contractual employees amounting to P125.4 million for the year.

Furthermore, COA said the PTNI, also known as PTV 4, lost P9.178 million in revenue from blocktime programs who were charged with rates that did not conform with the approved New Airtime Rate Card of PTNI and Programming Guidelines for Co-productions and Blocktimers.

State auditors asked PTNI General Manager Katherine Chloe de Castro to hold liable the signatories of the various broadcast contracts that granted unauthorized discounted airtime rates to blocktimers.

According to COA, revenue losses were noted in the blocktime transactions with producers of Lakbayin ang Magandang Pilipinas; Kilos Pronto; Mag-Agri Tayo, Medyo Late Night Show with Jojo A ; Jesus Miracle Crusade and Oras ng Himala and Oras ng Katotohanan.

“Per inquiry with the Airtime Management Division, majority of the blocktime programs have been running for more than 10 years and the airtime rates were not adjusted accordingly,” the audit body said.

The PTNI management assured COA that it will study thoroughly the recommendation to hold persons involved liable.

State auditors said the network has failed to secure the approval of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) before it procured the ICT equipment worth P232.97 million last year.

Under the General Appropriations Act of 2019, government agencies procuring ICT equipment must secure an Information Systems Strategic Plan from the DICT.

The PTNI management failed to present an approved ISSP when audit examinations were being undertaken.

Reacting to the audit observation, personnel of PTNI”s Finance Division claimed that the state-owned broadcast station is exempted from the submission of ISSPs.

However, COA rejected this claim as it warned that it will issue a Notice of Suspension of the transaction if the government broadcast network continuously fails to present an ISSP.

Meanwhile, COA demanded the submission of contract of service of contractual and contract of service personnel hired in 2019, noting that these have not been submitted despite several demands.

PTNI spent P125.4 million for the salaries of an undetermined number of temporary and contractual employees but failed to submit the required documents.

During audit, the Administrative Division submitted to auditors the list of 415 contract of service personnel and 41 project based talents hired in 2019.

“However, the list of casual/contractual employees hired for the same period was not submitted,” auditors noted.

They warned that unless all the required documents are submitted for audit, Notice of Suspension and subsequently a Notice of Disallowance, will be issued by COA .