In about six months time, the state-controlled Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC 13) will go belly-up and leave about 178 people jobless, unless a miracle happens and the network gets privatized soon.
During the plenary budget debate on the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), COOP-NATCO Party-list Rep. Felimon Espares asked the OPS about the status of IBC 13.
No budget had been allotted for IBC 13 under the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP), and this has carried over to the House’s General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“Of course hindi ito ginusto ng OPS. May mga plano ang OPS para sa IBC 13. Pero sa pananaw ng DBM, ang IBC 13 ay up for privatization at dahil doon, hindi nila inaprubahan ng kahit na anong budget (This is not what the OPS wants. They have plans for IBC 13. But, from the perspective of the DBM, the IBC 13 is up for privatization and because of this, the DBM didn’t allocate a budget),” Marikina City 2nd district Rep. Stella Quimbo, sponsor of the OPS budget, said during on Monday, Sept. 26.
Quimbo said there has been a problem with the long-sought privatization of the IBC 13. Under Republic Act (RA) 10390, if the IBC 13 were to be sold to the private sector, the government would have to receive a minimum of P2 obillion in return.
However, according to Quimbo, there are no buyers for the government-owned network at that price.
“Ano gawin doon? Magutom nalang ba sila? Bakit hindi talaga binigyan kahit pang contingency man lang for just six months whatsoever para hindi naman malagay sa alanganin ang ating mga empleyado (What will be done? Should they just go hungry? Why were they not given a contingency for just six months so that these employees won’t be at risk)?” Espares asked.
IBC 13 has 149 permanent employees, 24 non-permanent, and five contract of service workers (COS), as per the budget sponsor.
“Six months nalang po ang buhay ng IBC 13 if di sila makakatanggap ng subsidy from the government (The IBC 13 has six months left if they do not receive subsidy from the government). In other words, six months nalang po ang magiging trabaho nitong 178 individuals kung hindi makakatanggap ng budget (these 178 individuals will have six months of work left if the IBC 13 does not receive any budget)” Quimbo said.
Espares then asked that the House reconsider the budget of the state-controlled network to support the 178 employees.
“In that effect, I endorse that the committee will consider the budget of the IBC 13, ask their requested figure kasi hindi naman ganun kalaki (because it's not very big) for six months time,” Espares ended.