BIZ BUZZ: Finally, Christmas for IBC-13 | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Finally, Christmas for IBC-13

/ 02:48 AM December 28, 2023

It was a Christmas gift that was delayed by over two decades, and it finally arrived just before the holidays for the long suffering employees of Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp. or IBC-13, which has been under government sequestration since 1986.

The problem is that, under the successive boards of directors installed by the government, no funds were allocated for the retirement pay of at least a couple of hundred staffers who had been employed since the days when sugar baron Roberto Benedicto controlled it.

The Supreme Court had ruled as early as 2006 that these retirees deserve to be paid benefits for their years of service, but little has been done about it.


What’s worse is that this financial overhang of liabilities worth over P400 million had deterred potential investors from buying into the TV and radio network despite several moves to privatize it.


Biz Buzz understands that, of the 190-odd former employees to whom retirement pay was due since 2000, about 30 have already passed away, leaving just 160 plus still clutching at straws in the hope that their luck will change.

Enter newly appointed IBC-13 chief Jimmie Policarpio who made it his mission to clean up the station’s messy books and make it a viable business once more (with an eye on privatizing it in the future, we believe).

The first order of business for the former Presidential Legislative Liaison Office chief was to leverage all his contacts in Congress for them to allocate funds to pay off the retirees. And lo and behold! Biz Buzz hears that he was able to convince several senators to allocate funds to retire these liabilities in the 2024 national budget.

In particular, we hear that Policarpio’s initiative was supported by Senators Chiz Escudero, Sonny Angara, Joel Villanueva, Grace Poe, JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada, to name a few. Barring any hitches, this means that the network’s aging retirees will finally receive what’s due them after over 20 years.

Meanwhile, Policarpio has made it his mission to transform IBC-13 into the Philippines’ version of the British Broadcasting Corp.—state funded, but editorially independent. Will he succeed? Or will the forces of the status quo thwart these plans? Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas

MVP new SPNEC chief

Unlike the rest of us, billionaire Manuel Pangilinan isn’t done with 2023 just yet.


After all the hustling that Leandro Leviste had to do this year just to keep his solar firm SP New Energy Corp. (SPNEC) afloat, he was elected as the company’s vice chair and stepped aside as president and chief executive for Pangilinan.

Pangilinan also took the helm as the company’s chair on Wednesday after his company, MGen Renewable Energy Inc. (MGreen), finally completed its P15.9-billion investment in SPNEC.

MGreen will now own 15.7 billion common shares and 19.4 billion preferred shares in SPNEC, making it the solar company’s controlling shareholder. On Wednesday, SPNEC’s shares closed at P1.25, up 11.61 percent.

This, of course, is all for SPNEC’s mammoth 3.5-gigawatt solar and 4.5-gigawatt-hour battery project in Nueva Ecija province that is expected to come to life in the future.

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We await to see if the project, which has an estimated total investment requirement of P200 billion, will take its first baby steps in 2024.

—Meg J. Adonis INQ
TAGS: Biz Buzz, IBC-13, retirement benefits

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