Can House save budget-less IBC-13 from closing down?

State-owned television network IBC-13 will shut its doors by January 2023, unless lawmakers step in to save it.

The House plenary

Thus, said Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles as she sought the help of House of Representatives members Friday, Sept. 2 in keeping the network alive. It was the same day that Office of Press Secretary (OPS) officials faced the House Committee on Appropriations for their budget hearing.

Angeles confirmed to House members during the hearing that IBC-13 had been allocated zero funds under the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) or proposed national budget.

This means that the network will have to "close shop" by Jan. 1, 2023.

“Dito po meron kaming konting apela. Kung hindi po malagyan ang IBC, mawawalan po ng trabaho yung ating workers by January. Close operations na po tayo (Here we have a little appeal. If IBC won't be infused funds, then our workers will lose their jobs by January. The operations will be closed),” Angeles said. She didn't mention how many people were employed under the network.

The OPS requested a P418.73 million budget for IBC-13 during the crafting of the NEP by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). Of the amount, P123 million was to be spent on personnel services.

House members have the power to realign fund allocations in the 2023 budget, which is P5.268 trillion. They could provide funds for IBC-13 by repurposing an allocation elsewhere in the NEP.

But why did the state-owned network get no funds in the first place? Angeles explained to the appropriations panel that has IBC-13 already been categorized as “for privatization".

“Ngunit base dun sa batas kailangan pag-prinivatize natin yung IBC maka-deliver siya ng at least P1 billion para sa modernization ng PTV natin. Hindi po makaka-raise at the current state ang ating IBC kailangang palakihin natin yung value niya pero hindi natin magagawa yun at this stage lalong-lalo na kung mag-force to close ang ating IBC (But based on the law for privatization, IBC must deliver at least P1 billion for the modernization of PTV. In its current state, IBC won't be able to raise that money especially if it will be forced to close down)," she said.

Angeles said the OPS has sent a petition to the Governance Council for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) to lift the "for privatization" categorization.

PTV 4 is the other government network.