Press Releases

House approves new franchise for state-owned IBC television network; Salceda envisions bigger disaster preparedness, good governance role for state media

January 28th, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district), principal author and sponsor of House Bill No. 5404, or a 25-year renewal of the legislative franchise of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), a state-owned television network under the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO), thanked colleagues for the approval of the franchise of the state broadcaster, saying that the franchise “creates value of some P5 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 negative equity position. The franchise creates a premium for valuing the IBC, should we ever decide to privatize the broadcaster,” Salceda said.

“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.”

Following the approval, Salceda said that he envisions 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,” Salceda 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 network was also tapped to air educational programs to aid remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The IBC has a missionary role, and its potential to fulfill that role effectively was demonstrated during the pandemic,” Salceda added.

IBC as “tanungan at sumbungan ng bayan”

Salceda adds that the IBC can serve as an avenue for the public to air out their concerns on pressing or relevant issues and directly interact with concerned officials.

“I strongly suggest that the IBC also air programs where members of the public can pose questions to government officials, on everything from how to pay taxes as a small business, to how to avail of medical assistance programs of the government,” Salceda said.

“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,” Salceda added.

“In this role, the IBC can be a ‘tanungan at sumbungan’ for the public. We could even create programs in line with the thrusts of Hotline 8888 or the Presidential Complaint Center. We can have programs where members of the public can call in to express their concerns, and have them addressed by their officials,” Salceda said.

“Part of good governance is accessibility of government officials to the public, and the IBC can be a potent medium for that.”

Approval to extend franchise validity to 2050

Salceda says that the expected approval of the IBC franchise by the 18th Congress will extend the broadcaster’s franchise by another 25 years.

Its existing franchise under Republic Act No. 8954 granted the IBC a franchise to operate until September 2025.

“Once we extend their franchise, they will be authorized to operate until 2050. I hope their franchise extension gets enacted this Congress, so that we no longer have to rush it in the next Congress,” Salceda explained.

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