House approves IBC-13 franchise renewal bill on second reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 26) — The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill renewing the franchise of state-owned media network IBC-13.

IBC-13’s franchise is valid until Sept. 2, 2025, and a renewal secures its right to air until 2050.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, the principal author and sponsor of House Bill No. 5404, said the approval of the network’s franchise “creates value of some ₱5 billion in government assets.”

“Without a franchise, IBC would have been forced to wind down. Whatever assets it has left will be sold to pay its liabilities, since it’s in a negative equity position. The franchise creates a premium for valuing the IBC, should we ever decide to privatize the broadcaster,” he explained.

“However, there are alternatives to privatization. And in fact, even if we privatize it, we could probably still have a public broadcasting function included in the deal,” he added.

Salceda said he sees a stronger role for an expanded IBC in disaster preparedness and participative governance, “given its design as a corporation without a profit motive.”

“I envision IBC TV and state media in general to play a more significant role in disaster preparedness. As being close to the organs of government, the station is uniquely positioned to be the first source of government announcements, requests, and instructions,” he said.

“That unique position is most crucial during a disaster. That’s why I think programming has to be geared towards disaster announcements. The airing of the Laging Handa briefings in the network is a prime example of what can be sustained as it repurposes,” the lawmaker added.

The network was also tapped to air educational programs to aid remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salceda said IBC-13 can also serve as an avenue for the public to air their concerns on pressing issues and directly interact with concerned officials. He proposed launching programs in line with the Presidential Complaint Center’s mission to air the public’s concerns.

“We have long abdicated that role of direct public assistance to private broadcasters who make money out of this mission. We should reclaim some of that space through the IBC,” he added.

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