With lackluster performance, Optical Media Board deserves P1 budget for 2023 – Jinggoy

SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is poised to push for the allocation of P1 for the Optical Media Board (OMB) in next year’s proposed P5.268-trillion national budget. 

“According to my research, the OMB had no performance whatsoever for the past year. No collection, no apprehension of violators, wala, talagang zero performance,” Estrada said in a television interview Thursday with NET25’s Ano Sa Palagay N’yo (ASPN).

One-peso budget for OMB in 2023: Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada says he will move for the allocation of a one-peso budget for the Optical Media Board (OMB) in next year’s proposed P5.268-trillion national budget. Estrada said he will propose the said appropriation on Monday, November 14, 2022, when the agency’s budget is taken up on the floor in the ongoing marathon deliberations. (Office of Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada/ Rey Javelosa)

“One year in office, wala talagang ginawa, zero performance. That’s why on Monday, during continuing budget plenary deliberations in the Senate, I will propose a one peso budget for OMB,” the lawmaker added. 

In hearing the OMB’s proposed P75.858-million appropriations for 2023 last October 18, Estrada questioned the agency’s chairman Jeremy Marquez over OMB’s lackluster performance since he took the helm of the regulatory office to oversee the protection and promotion of intellectual property rights in digital form. 

“During your term, there were zero administrative cases filed against violators of RA 9239 from November 2021 when you took over until about July of this year 2022. In contrast, the OMB was averaging 200 administrative cases filed each month before you took over,” he said. 

Compared with Marquez’s predecessors, Estrada said the OMB collected P560,000 in 2018, P1.83 million in 2019; P350,000 in 2020; and P2.3 million in 2021 in administrative penalties. 

“And during your term, zero collection. Number two, zero seizures of counterfeit and illegal storage devices from November 2021, when you took over, until August of this year. In fact, you only recently ordered the OMB agents to conduct seizure operation against violators of RA 9239 just so you can have something to report for the budget deliberations in both Houses of Congress,” Estrada said. 

The amount of seizures per year of OMB between 2018 to 2021 ranged from P71.65 million to as much as P309.9 million, and when Marquez became the chairman, it went down to only P100,000.

When asked to explain, Estrada was told by the OMB chairman that they saw no need to conduct seizure operations as the selling of pirated DVDs is no longer as rampant as before.

“Hindi pupuwedeng ganoon. Kasi kapag nagkasala ka, kapag labag sa batas, kailangan aksyunan mo. Hindi ka naman puwedeng maging friendly sa lahat. Kung maging friendly ka sa mga kawatan, kung maging friendly ka sa mga violators ng batas, walang mangyayari. Talagang wala kang maa-apprehend,” Estrada said.