GMA told: “We cannot eat government infomercials

Palace wasted P 298 million for white elephant TV ads, says Pamalakaya
GMA told: “We cannot eat government infomercials

The fisherfolk activist group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday told President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and members of her Cabinet who figured in so-called government paid informercials that these paid TV ads cannot resolve joblessness, poverty and hunger across-the-country.

“The P 298 million taxpayers money spent by Malacañang on infomercials have no mitigating impact on the lives of jobless, hungry and starving millions. The 27.6 million poorest Filipinos all over the country will not benefit from this “running teleserye of state propaganda and political deception,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

“This barrage of informercials promoting the senatorial candidacy of Arroyo anointed candidates in the 2010 elections is a national robbery of public funds. Malacañang should stop this electoral oriented infomercials to stop the bleeding of national coffers and save taxpayers money from all-out financial depletion,” added Hicap.

At the hearing called by Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, administration Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago demanded that officials remove themselves from the infomercials or she would move to cut the ads of their agencies budgets.

It was found out that the office of the Home Development Mutual Fund or PAG-IBIG chaired by Vice President Noli de Castro was the biggest spender for informercials chunking P 172 million out of the recorded P 298 million expenses for government infomercials. De Castro is reportedly eying the presidency in 2010 national elections.

Efraim Genuino, chair of the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or Pagcor said his office spent P 82 million for the ads this year alone, while the Department of Health according to Secretary Francisco Duque spent P 32.4 million for his infomercials in 2009.

The Metro Manila Development Authority chaired by Bayani Fernando said some P 5.8 million in taxpayers’ money was spent for the informercials of his office, featuring him in all these TV ads, while the Department of Education said it spent P 5.7 million for infomercials. Bayani of MMDA and education secretary Jesli Lapus were reportedly running in the senatorial race under the administration ticket next year.
Pamalakaya said the P 298 million taxpayers money spent for government TV ads could have been used to buy 11,920,000 kilos of well milled rice at P 25 per kilo. The amount of money spent is capable of bringing in 37,250,000 pieces of noodles at P 8 per piece to urban and rural poor communities all over the country.

The militant group said the P 298 million spent for infomercials if properly disposed can create 2,980 new classrooms or 2,980 modest housing units pegged at P 100,000 per classroom and per house.

“ A lot of things can be done in the name of public interest and national welfare of the poor Filipinos, but the government opted to waste public funds to glamorize and promote the senatorial wannabes of Lakas-CMD and Kampi parties,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group said those government officials who figured in state-sponsored infomercials should resign from public office to prevent them from further using the public funds to advance their respective political careers.

Pamalakaya said Secretary Duque of DoH, Secretary Lapus of DepEd, Fernando of MMDA, VP de Castro of Pag-Ibig, as well as Interior and Local government Secretary Ronaldo Puno and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro should order their respective departments to pull out their infomercials and quit as secretaries of their respective departments. #

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