The House of Representatives approved on second reading House Bill (HB) No. 5404 that gives state-owned media network IBC-13 a new broadcasting franchise.

IBC-13’s franchise is set to expire on Sept. 2, 2025. The renewal gives it a license to air until 2050.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, principal author of HB 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 explained that IBC has a stronger role in terms of 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.

 — Ronald Espartinez