Two-decade-old problem solved: Addressing the plight of IBC-13 retirees



Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Have you ever thought about your retirement? I believe that this stage should be the best time of our lives when we can indulge in activities that we find thrilling — the activities that we have always wanted to undertake but never had enough time for. It is the stage when we may stop worrying about employment, finances, or daily routines, and simply immerse ourselves in our interests after years of hard work.

With this in mind, just last week, I was glad to join Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC)-13 President and CEO Jimmy Policarpio and his team for a meeting over lunch. At the meeting, President Policarpio expressed IBC-13's appreciation to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for releasing P500 million for the payment of the retirement benefits of former employees from Fiscal Years (FYs) 2002-2024, under the FY 2024 national budget.

For those unfamiliar with IBC-13, it is a government-owned or controlled corporation (GOCC) under the Presidential Communications Office (PCO). In partnership with the Department of Education, it is currently a Public Children's Educational Network, geared toward educating our greatest national resource — the Filipino youth — by providing programs that promote positive Filipino values, good morals, and right conduct while correcting outdated traditional behaviors that serve as obstacles to development and progress.

In September 2000, under Republic Act (RA) No. 8954, the state-run broadcast station was granted a 25-year franchise to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain, for commercial purposes and the public interest, radio and/or television broadcasting stations in the country. This aims to enable the government to provide adequate public service time and to reach the population on important public issues. 

Unfortunately, IBC-13 operated at a financial loss of ₱45 million, on average, from FYs 2010-2014. The accumulated budget deficiencies of the state-run media corporation arose from the retirement of its employees, in compliance with its Collective Bargaining Agreement and Commission on Audit’s Observation Memorandum dated Aug. 28, 2020.

To sustain the operation of the network, the IBC-13 submits its annual budget proposal, which includes payment of retirements benefits of its separated employees and mandatory salaries and allowances of its remaining personnel, to the DBM starting FY 2015.

It is important to mention that from FYs 2019-2022, the budgetary support for IBC-13 pertains only to the requirements for the mandatory salaries and allowances of its remaining personnel. The requirements for the payment of retirement benefits of GOCC personnel from 2008-2022 must be sourced from its corporate funds. Because of its financial difficulties, IBC-13 was not able to provide the much-needed funds for retirement pay. 

Thus, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PBBM) ordered concerned government agencies to resolve this issue. It took the collaboration of different government entities, such as the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Department of Finance under Secretary Ralph Recto, the DBM, and the Governance Commission for GOCCs, to finally be able to allocate the funds, under the FY 2024 national budget, for the retirement benefits of these employees who have sacrificed the best years of their lives in the service of IBC-13. As such, GCG En Banc Resolution 2024-03 dated April 11, 2024 approved the release to IBC-13 of the subsidy for the payment of retirement benefits.

And, on April 25, 2024, with complete documentary requirements, the DBM issued the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and its corresponding Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) amounting to a total of ₱500 million. This covers the payment of the outstanding retirement benefits of IBC-13 retirees from 2002 to 2024. I believe it is only fitting that we fast-track the release of the payment for these retirees, who have been deprived of their benefits for far too long.

Finally, on May 3, 2024, after 22 years and 28 management teams, some 145 IBC-13 retirees received their retirement pay in a ceremonial payout led by PCO Secretary Cheloy Garafil. It is, however, unfortunate that, as PCO reported, at least 25 retirees have passed away, so they will not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

I agree with Sec. Cheloy that “addressing the welfare of media workers is one of the cornerstones of his [PBBM’s] administration.”

But more than just media workers, the President views each government worker as contributory to the overall national development goal. In his speech at the 2024 GOCCs’ Day on May 6, 2024, PBBM appreciated the passion, drive, and energy of government workers in GOCCs, such as IBC-13, which contributed significantly to the growth and prosperity of not just our economy but also of our people. 

Indeed, the payment of the benefits is long overdue. Thus, we are happy that the IBC-13 retirees have finally received their much-awaited retirement pay under the present administration. 

Beyond budget, the PBBM administration firmly upholds the rights of Filipino workers, especially those in government, to retire with dignity by providing the benefits they deserve.  On the part of the DBM, we are resolute in supporting the needs of our government retirees, so they may still enjoy the rest of their lives and dive into their passions while they still can after years of arduous effort, dahil sa Bagong Pilipinas, walang maiiwan, lahat nabibigyan ng kailangang kalinga.


(Amenah F. Pangandaman is the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management.)