With zero funds allotted for 2024, IBC-13 seeks Congress’ help

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 29) — The state-run Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) is asking Congress for funds to stay afloat since it was not given any budget under the proposed ₱5.768-trillion government spending plan for 2024.

At the Presidential Communications Office’s budget briefing before the House Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday, IBC-13 president and chief executive officer Jose Policarpio Jr. said the network has been “relying on alms” to survive since 2023, when it also received zero funding in the National Expenditure Program.

"We are not included in last year’s NEP, we are just relying on alms," Policarpio pointed out. "Meaning to say, we were able to get some congressional initiative."

"We went through 29 management (changes) and I don’t know how come it went this far, why there’s so much unpaid retirement (benefits)," he also said.

"Some even told me to bring this matter to the Commission on Human Rights. Nakakahiya na po [It's embarrassing]," Policrpo added.

Then-press secretary Trixie Cruz Angeles told lawmakers that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) did not give any budget to IBC-13 since it was up for privatization.

The network’s value, however, was below the ₱1 billion required by law to be auctioned off.

Policarpio said IBC-13 would need ₱1.245 billion to continue operations this year. Of this amount, ₱500 million will be used to pay the benefits of 137 retired employees, some of whom have been waiting for a settlement since 2002.

At least ₱523 million would be used for the operations of IBC-13’s 10 television stations and 11 radio stations, while ₱139.4 million would be spent on personnel services.

The remaining ₱83 million would be allotted to maintenance and other operating expenses.

Several lawmakers expressed support for funding IBC-13, with OFW-party-list Rep. Marissa Magsino turning emotional over the prospect of the network ceasing operations due to lack of funds.

The PCO and its attached agencies, meanwhile, have a proposed budget of ₱1.921 billion for 2024.