MANILA – The Senate on Friday has included over P619 million worth of budget for government sequestered broadcast firm IBC-13 amid mounting fears that it would shut down by 2023 unless funded.
Senator JV Ejercito, who defended the firm's budget, said most of it or P123 million would be used to pay the salaries of its personnel.
"The lingering problem, which has been swept under the rug through the years, the unpaid retirement benefits of retirees from 2009 up to 2023 which amounted to P490 million," said the lawmaker.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Koko Pimentel said former employees of IBC-13 wrote to him about the matter regarding back wages and separation pay which was accounted for in the current budget.
Video from Senate of the Philippines
The current budget would settle all the claims of the former employees, he said, noting that the firm initially did not have any allotment in the government's fiscal spending plan next year.
This was why Pimentel hoped that their P619 million proposed budget would "survive the bicameral [committee] as well as the approval of the President."
In September, IBC president Hexilon Alvarez told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo that the government-controlled network has "outstanding obligations" not just to their employees, but also to their retirees who have yet to receive the full amount of what was promised to them under their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Former Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles earlier said not a single centavo of the Office of the Press Secretary's proposed P1.2-billion budget was allotted to the broadcaster.