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IBC FRANCHISE RENEWAL GETS HOUSE PANEL OK

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises approved the measure renewing the franchise for another 25 years of the state-owned television network Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC).

Albay Representative Joey Salceda, the principal author and sponsor of House Bill No. 5404, said the state TV’s franchise extension would help provide 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.

“IBC’s unique position is most crucial during a disaster, and thus its programming must be geared towards disaster announcements.”

The veteran legislator said the IBC’s unique position is most crucial during a disaster, and thus its programming must 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 seasoned lawmaker said.

He noted that the network was also tapped to air educational programs to aid remote learning during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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

He said 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.

He said the IBC could even create programs in line with the thrusts of Hotline 8888 or the Presidential Complaint Center.

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

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

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,” he concluded.

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