OpinYon Metro


May 6, 2024, 8:28 AM
OpinYon News Team

OpinYon News Team

News Reporter

A total of 145 employees of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) have received their retirement pay, more than two decades since they left the state-run media firm, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said Saturday. Shown giving the checks are PCO Secretary Cheloy Garafil and IBC-13 President Jimmie Policarpio with other officials.

Waiting is over for IBC-13 employees:

retirement checks received after 22 years

In the not-too-distant past, the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp. (IBC) Channel 13 was one of the two most popular TV channels in the country. That was the time of the first President Ferdinand Marcos, when martial law was imposed in the country.

IBC-13 transformed from private ownership to state ownership, and the onset of the Cory regime rising from the ashes of the People Power revolution relegated the IBC-13 to the sidelines.

The TV station soon joined the broadcast media arm of the government, together with People’s Television Network 4, the Presidential Broadcast Service-Bureau of Broadcast Services, and Radio Television Malacanang.

Throughout its corporate life, IBC 13 was managed by 28 different management teams, under several administrations. During the last 22 years, these managers accumulated some P500 million in retirement pay liabilities to their employees, a problem that kept becoming a throbbing headache year after year, especially when Congress refused to give any budget for the agency during the last two budget seasons.

At least 25 of the retirees have already passed away before they could have received their retirement pay, the PCO said.

Most of the remaining retirees are also on maintenance medicines or are dealing with medical problems, while some are “gravely ill,'' IBC-13 president and CEO Jimmie Policarpio said.

“The President gave the instruction to help resolve their claims, as addressing the welfare of media workers is one of the cornerstones of his administration and of the PCO. So it is a great honor for me to be able to be part of this much-awaited and much-deserved awarding of benefits to our colleagues in the media,” PCO Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in her speech at the awarding ceremony last Friday.

Policarpio said the release of retirement pay will benefit around 200 families.

“With spirits of thanksgiving, they can now look forward to enjoying their waning years with dignity and pride in having served God, country, and people,” the Policarpio said.

Policarpio remembered how he asked the House Appropriations Committee to help them find the money to pay some P500 million in unpaid retirement pay of employees.

"Twenty-five of them [have] died, 10 are in the hospital, while 10 are still waiting. Madam Chair, we have been under 29 different managements. How come it went this far? Why is there so much unpaid retirement?" he said during the deliberations on the Presidential Communications Office's (PCO) proposed P1.79-billion budget for 2024 before the House appropriations panel.

There were even suggestions to Policarpio to raise the issue with the Commission on Human Rights, although it would have been shameful. Without a budget for 2024, Policarpio said the company won’t be able to comply with the order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for all broadcast networks to shift from analog to digital operations.

We wonder where IBC-13 got the money to pay its long-suffering former employees. We need not ask though, who the White Knight is.

We are happy that 22 years of waiting for the retirees have ended. (Eric Panganiban)

#WeTakeAStand #OpinYon #PCO #IBC13 #NTC

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