Another laudable job for the Ombudsman
- Art Borjal () - March 10, 2000 - 12:00am

Iloilo Rep. Raul Gonzales has asked for a congressional probe on the way the government-owned PTV 4 is doing its functions, as mandated by its charter. The inquiry should be interesting, and it might just unraved some interesting facets on PTV 4's operations that might just catch the attention and inquisitive eyes of Ombudsman Aniano Desierto.

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Under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, government officials and personnel, who fail to perform their mandated duty or who do things contrary to what the law says, are liable for prosecution and punishment. Since the charter of PTV 4 ordains that the government media network should promote values, and not gambling, there is basis for Ombudsman Desierto to step in. I stress, it is the culture of gambling that PTV 4 is promoting, not values, and this is definitely contrary to the charter of PTV 4.

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During the past several days, I have received significant reactions from concerned citizens on the way PTV 4 is undertaking its job. The reactions have been quite critical of the weird programming of PTV 4. If the officials of PTV 4 have ears that are still open to the plaints of the citizenry, let them take heed.

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Take this letter of Laila D. Beltran, an instructor at the College of Immaculate Conception at Maharlika Highway, Cabanatuan City. She notes that whenever one talks of PTV 4, what immediately comes to mind is either Lotto or Online Bingo. Beltran suggests that PTV 4 should now be compelled to follow what its charter says, which is to educate and enlighten the public on values and nation-building.

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Another letter came from Loida L. Robles, principal of the Baras Elementary School in Baras, Rizal, in reaction to the gambling activities being aired day by day over PTV 4. "I believe that the use of television in informing the public of what is news is an important tool of modern society. If PTV 4 is alotting more of its airtime to online bingo and lotto, it is promoting gambling, contrary to its primary responsibility of enlightening the public on values, on things that contribute to nation-building," she says.

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Ombudsman Ani Desierto will be rendering a distinct public service if he initiates his own probe into the manner PTV 4 is complying with its legal mandate. And another aspect he could look into is the way PTV 4 has been entering into commercial contracts with business entities and individuals. Is it possible that some of these contracts have deprived the government of money that should have gone into the government coffers? Just asking.

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The food security program of the Estrada administration is being imperilled, because of haphazard and ill-advised policies. Take the complaint of Philippine poultry breeders and the Philippine Association of Broilers Integrators (PABI), who feel that their industry is being choked to extinction by the importation of foreign chickens. Since 1998, they said, some 19 million to 24 million kilos of foreign chickens have come in, and there is no end in sight to the unabated entry of foreign chicken that is much cheaper than domestically-produced chickens.

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How is it possible that frozen chickens, with added shipping costs, from faraway North America, Europe or even Australia can be cheaper than domestically-produced chickens? The answers are simple. Inefficient domestic production costs spawned by past protectionism policies, exorbitant inter-island shipping rates due to route monopolies, inadequate feed supplies, and costly poultry feed prices have all conspired to threaten the local chicken industry.

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There is a financially-distressed lady journalist, whose name I shall keep anonymous in the meantime, to help her keep her and her family's privacy, who badly needs help in acquiring the medicines prescribed for her ailing mother. The medicines are Metopralad or Cadiosel; Iron+B Complex Syrup or Hemarate; Doxopylline or Ansimar; Donepezil MCI or Aricept; Salbutamol or Ventolin (2.5 mg); Domeperidone or Motilium (10 mg); and Sodium Chloride NAcl. If there are some kind souls who can help, please contact Alex Dinoy of my staff, at telephone numbers 716-1399 and 716-1499.

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In the meantime, the Good Samaritan Foundation is helping a young indigent Muslim-Filipino, who recently attained his Bachelor of Laws degree from a Metro Manila law school, in his effort to pass the bar. He is now taking up his review courses at San Beda College, and the Good Samaritan Foundation took care of his tuition fee and his upkeep during the five-month review period. So far, the amount of P13,000 has been disbursed for this Muslim-Filipino beneficiary.

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Let me thank, too, former Rep. Conrado M. Estrella III, who is currently the administrator of the National Electrification Administration, for donating a portion of his salary to the Good Samaritan Foundation. "The help extended by your foundation to our less fortunate brethren serves as an inspiration to many civic-minded leaders," Conrad said. By the way, Conrad's constituents in Pangasinan are urging him to run for Congress anew, so that he can maintain his seniority in the roster of solons in the House of Representativess.

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PULSEBEAT: Last Sunday, March 5, I inadvertently left behind two bottles of costly natural food supplements that I had bought at GNC SM Megamall. You know what? I got them back after two days, thanks to the honest GNC personnel who man the popular health food store.... Former Bulacan Governor and Lakas stalwart Roberto "Obet" Pagdanganan sent to me a copy of his book on the "cooperative revolution." It was during Pagdanganan's term as Bulacan governor that the cooperative movement really flourished in such dramatic fashion in Bulacan.... Davao Insular Hotel has been renamed Waterfront Insular Hotel, after businessman William Gatchalian bought it from the Ayalas.... Jose Ma. Locsin of Ilang-Ilang St., Silay City, Negros Occidental, wrote to suggest that people form prayer groups that will ask God to go after the evil elements in Philippine society.

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Art A Borjal's e-mail address:<jwalker@tri-isys.com>

ALEX DINOY ART A BORJAL B COMPLEX SYRUP BACHELOR OF LAWS BARAS ELEMENTARY BELTRAN BULACAN CENTER GOOD SAMARITAN FOUNDATION PTV
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