Six months' worth of funds sought for IBC-13 amid zero budget | Inquirer News

Six months’ worth of funds sought for IBC-13 amid zero budget

/ 03:44 PM September 26, 2022
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MANILA, Philippines — Since no financing was set aside for the government-owned TV network in 2023 due to the campaign for its privatization, a lawmaker has urged for at least six months’ worth of funding for IBC-13.

During the plenary debates for the 2023 National Expenditures Program at the House of Representatives on Monday, COOP NATCCO Rep. Felimon Espares asked Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo — who is sponsoring the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) budget — what would happen to the network if it does not get funds.

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Quimbo said that the OPS did not want to give the IBC-13 a zero budget, but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is pushing for privatization. The problem is, the Marikina lawmaker said, it appears no one is willing to buy the network for the law-mandated cost of P2 billion.

“Mr. Speaker, of course hindi ito ginusto ng OPS, may mga plano ang OPS para sa IBC-13 pero po sa pananaw ng DBM, ang sabi po nila ang IBC ay up for privatization… Ang problema po ng agarang pag-privatize ng IBC ay meron pong isang legal problem, which is in the charter of PTV4… Of the additional authorized capital of P5 billion, P2 billion shall be taken from the proceeds of the privatization of RPN 9 and IBC 13,” Quimbo told Espares.

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(Mr. Speaker, of course, it is not the wish of the OPS, they have plans for IBC-13, but it is the purview of DBM that IBC is up for privatization. The problem with the privatization of IBC is that there is a legal problem, which is in the charter of PTV4, as ‘Of the additional authorized capital of P5 billion, P2 billion shall be taken from the proceeds of the privatization of RPN 9 and IBC 13.)

“So ibig sabihin, kapag i-privatize ang IBC-13, kapag ibenta ito sa pribadong sektor, ang minimum na dapat matanggap ng gobyerno is P2 billion. ‘Yan po ang interpretation ng batas. Kaya nga lang po ang problema is up to today, wala pong willing na buyer, wala pong offer na umabot sa P2 billion,” she added.

(So it means that if you privatize IBC-13 and sell it to the private sector, the government should get a minimum of P2 billion. That is the interpretation of the law. The problem, however, is up to today. No buyer is willing to buy it for P2 billion.)

Espares then asked about the welfare of IBC-13 employees who might be affected by the lack of a budget, suggesting that Congress set aside at least six months’ worth of funds in case something goes wrong.

“If that is the case, what will happen to the employees, kasi ako naman ‘yong concern ko dito ‘yong mga empleyado natin. Ano’ng gagawin do’n, magutom na lang ba sila? Bakit hindi talaga binigyan kahit pang-contingency man lang just for six months whatsoever para hindi naman malagay sa alanganin ‘yong ating mga empleyado, kasi ito ‘yong unang matatamaan,” Espares said.

(If that is the case, what will happen to the employees, my concern is the employees who would lose jobs. Will we allow them to be hungry? Why don’t we provide funds, even only for contingency, just for six months, so that the employees’ welfare would not be compromised.)

READ: ‘Underutilized’ IBC-13 can be used as an educational channel, says Andanar

Quimbo replied that IBC-13 currently has 178 personnel, and the network can only support its employees for six months if it does not receive any allocation from the government.

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“Mr. Speaker napakalaking problema nga po, meron sa ngayon, 149 na permanent employees ang IBC, merong 24 na non-permanent, at merong lima na COS (contract of service), so merong total manpower complement ang IBC-13 na 178 na individuals. So sila po ang directly-affected nitong pagka-zero budget ng IBC,” she said.

(Mr. Speaker, the big problem is that as of now, we have 149 permanent employees with IBC, 24 are non-permanent, and five are under a contract of service, so the total manpower complement of IBC-13 is 178 individuals. So they are directly affected by the zero budget.)

“Ayon sa finance officer po ay six months na lang po ang magiging buhay ng IBC kung hindi po sila makatanggap ng any form of subsidy from the government. So in other words, six months na lang po ang magiging trabaho nitong 178 individuals kung hindi po makakatanggap ng budget ng IBC-13,” she added.

(According to the finance officer, IBC can only operate for six months if they do not receive any form of subsidy from the government. So, in other words, employees can only receive salaries and work for six months if IBC-13 would not have a budget.)

During the House committee on appropriations hearing on the OPS budget last September 2, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles warned that leaving IBC-13 with a zero budget would lead to the network’s closure.

Angeles also said back then that IBC-13 did not receive any funds because it was designed for privatization by DBM.

READ: IBC-13 closure looms if not funded, warns Press Secretary Angeles

For 2023, the DBM allocated a P1.2 billion budget to the OPS, but none would go to the IBC-13. Compared to 2022, the network received P73.68 million.

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TAGS: House of Representatives, IBC 13, National Expenditure Program, Office of the Press Secretary, Rep. Stella Quimbo
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