Mass media group now under Bunye

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo abolished yesterday the office that manages all government-owned broadcast stations and its official news agency.

The President signed Executive Order 576 abolishing the Government Mass Media Group and reverted all its properties, staff and resources to its mother agency, the Office of the Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye.

The GMMG, which used to be headed by Cerge Remonde, is composed of television stations People’s Television Network (now NBN-4), Radio Philippines Network (Channel 9) and Inter-Continental Broadcasting Corp. (Channel 13); the Bureau of Broadcast Service which runs radio station Radyo ng Bayan; Bureau of Communications Services and the Philippines News Agency, the government’s wire service.

All supervision of the stations and the news agency will now be handled by Secretary Conrado Limcauco, director general of the Philippine Information Agency.

“The PIA director general, who shall continue to have Cabinet rank, shall exercise supervision and control by authority of the President over the PNA, BBS, BCS, NBN-4, RPN-9 and IBC-13,” Mrs. Arroyo wrote in her order.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the abolition of the GMMG was spurred by the appointment of Remonde to the Presidential Management Staff replacing Secretary Arthur Yap who was re-appointed secretary of agriculture.

Mrs. Arroyo will have the sole discretion of appointing the chairman, president and general manager of NBN-4. Palace sources have confirmed that the President will appoint former Armed Forces Chief retired Gen. Generoso Senga as NBN-4 general manager.

On RPN-9 and IBC-13, the President “shall express her desire whom she wishes to be elected as board members, chairmen and presidents thereof.”

GMMG was formed in 2004 when President Arroyo issued EO 348, creating the Office of the Communications Director which had the group among the entities under it.

But to further improve information dissemination the Chief Executive repealed EO 348 by issuing in March this year EO 511 which transferred all functions, units, properties, staff and other resources under the OCD to the press secretary.

EO 511 also mandated the creation of a communications group with the press secretary as head and chiefs of the PIA and GMMG as members.

President Arroyo formed this communications group to “guide, integrate and supervise public information activities, including advertisements, of all departments, bureaus, offices and agencies in the Executive branch of the government, including government financial institutions and government-owned and/or -controlled corporations in close consultation with heads of these entities.”

Under EO 511, funding for the operations of the communications group will be sourced from the OPS, PIA, government mass media organizations, government financial institutions and corporations.