Corporate News

By Alden M. Monzon, Reporter

Invitation to bid for IBC-13 expected in April

Posted on March 23, 2016

THE PRIVATIZATION of sequestered broadcaster Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp. (IBC-13) will get started in April, when the government is expected to issue the invitation to bid.

In an interview with BusinessWorld last Friday, IBC-13 president Lito O. Cruz said the invitation to bid is scheduled to be released in April.

“We hope to come out with it [bid invitation] before the term of the President ends as part of our legacy. So after Holy Week, expect an announcement, around April,” Mr. Cruz said in mixed English and Filipino.

“There’s a floor price that the GCG (Governance Commission for Government Owned and Controlled Corporations) has set, which is around P2 billion. So, the price starts there,” he added.

The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), which was tapped as IBC-13’s financial advisor, is currently finalizing the bid parameters.

DBP Vice-President Francis Nicholas M. Chua confirmed the timeline given by Mr. Cruz, adding that they are aiming to finish the bid parameters to meet the target date of the release of the invitation to bid in April.

At least two parties have expressed interest in joining the bidding for the sequestered network.

“We are interested in Channel 13 but subject to the conditions and terms of the reference of bidding,” Radio Mindanao Network Inc. (RMN) President and Chief Executive Officer Eric S. Canoy told BusinessWorld via text when sought for comment, adding that they plan to make a bid with a consortium.

In January, San Miguel Corp. President Ramon S. Ang was quoted by media reports as saying he is keen on joining the bidding.

Asked if they will participate in the bidding, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Manuel V. Pangilinan replied via text message, “No, we will not bid for IBC-13.”

Ayala Corp., through its corporate communications department, declined to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, Jojo Yee, president of the IBC Employees Union, said that their members -- which are all regular employees -- support the move to privatize the network.

“When it comes to the privatization, our support is all-out. We have been waiting for the privatization to push through for a long time. Without it, there is no continuity in the operation,” he said in the vernacular.

With new owners, Mr. Yee said much-needed funds will be injected into IBC-13, which has been lagging behind other local networks in terms of equipment and technology.

IBC-13’s Mr. Cruz does not expect the privatization of the network to affect its operations.

However, he noted it would be up to the next owner if it would retain the current employees. At present, the company has a little over 200 regular employees, while 29 are “talents” or those employed on a contractual basis.

IBC-13 is a hybrid GOCC and private enterprise, meaning it is run by the government as a private corporation but subsists on its own revenues without any government subsidies.

In an interview with BusinessWorld last March 8, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said that the administration’s plan is for the government to have a single television network to meet its television broadcast needs.

“We believe that there should only be one government-owned network. That’s People’s Television. This is a 30-year old issue that is already coming to a close,” Mr. Coloma said.

Aside from being the administrator of IBC-13, the government also currently operates the People’s Television Network (PTV-4) under the Presidential Communications Operations Office headed by Mr. Coloma.