MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – It is just a matter of time. The once successful and viable online news source established by Maria Ressa seems headed for bankruptcy.
It all started with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) order canceling the media license of Rappler for violation of the Philippine Constitution’s provision banning foreign ownership of media companies. The order is on appeal.
Then, in order to cope with declining ad revenue and the cost of maintaining its core of Rapplerettes, Ressa launched an online fundraising campaign many months ago. She failed to raise the P5 Million goal and had to extend the campaign. To date, a little less than 50% of the goal has been raised.
Now, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has slapped Rappler with a P133.8 Million tax evasion case. Ressa calls it “ludicrous.”
So, let’s do the math, assuming that Rappler has another source of income to pay its reporters and employees as well as its office rent, not to mention daily operating expenses.
Rappler’s foreign investor, Omidyar Network, has donated its P78 Million investment to the senior managers of Ressa’s company. Let’s assume for a moment that all the managers will donate back their share of the Omidyar donation to Rappler.
Now, let’s add the P2.5 Million Rappler has raised so far via its online fundraising campaign.
That gives Rappler a total of P80.5 Million to play with. But that’s obviously not enough to fulfill its tax obligations with the BIR. In fact, Rappler would end up more than P53 Million in the red.
Is bankruptcy in the very near horizon for Rappler?