(Requested by: Gregory Maximinian)
WARNING! This article can cause some readers to get butthurt. The author does not demean his faith but to know better about the situation. Read, reflect and react cautiously.
THE TRUTH shall set us free. This is the Biblical concept that is mostly agreeable and applicable in our daily living — whether religious or not — but at the same time, we also believe in the secular philosophy about the concept of truth: it does hurt.
In this article, we will tackle and apply such aspects to two distinct television networks — IBC 13 and DBS 35 — and know the status of their whereabouts and find their common ground.
IBC 13’s current status of privatization
Throughout the three decades of sequestration, IBC 13 is now waiting for someone to be sold from the national government for PHP 10 billion. The sole VHF network suffered the worst in operation and in finances — thus obscuring and going virtually unknown in the minds of every Filipino. Whenever people discuss Channel 13, they usually responded with fond memories (a throwback); they tend to remember the “best” channel during the so-called golden age of programming during the Marcos and early part of first Aquino days, including animes, super sentai & tokusatsu series. Today, it’s programming relies heavily on home shopping and simulcast from PTV 4, both of which cause the major turnoff to viewers.
The timeline of the fall of IBC since 1986
So, when did the fall of IBC occurred? It has many milestones that leads to the fall in aspects of finances, operation and reputation since sequestration of Broadcast City:
- 1987. According to the Manila Standard, IBC-13’s union went on a strike to protest the management’s continuous disregard of the employee union’s demands, which led to the temporary cutting off the broadcast. Chairperson of the board at that time was Ninez Cacho-Olivares (the present editor-in-chief of The Daily Tribune).
- 1993. Their transmitter in Roxas, Capiz was battered by a typhoon but it has never been fixed.
- 2000. President and General Manager Boots Anson-Roa was found guilty of falsifying the certification of extension of broadcast rights of PBA to Vintage TV.
- 2001. Their sole owned-and-operated FM radio station in Metro Manila, 89 DMZ, was relinquished and became Wave 89.1.
- 2002. Mateo Management Group, the producer of Lunch Break, was given a cease and desist order from the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) after complaints of fraud from investors.
- 2003. Viva TV’s Star for a Night crowned Sarah Geronimo as the Grand Champion, symbolically ending the seven-year-old continuous primetime blocktimer with the Network.
- 2004. According to the audit report from the Commission on Audit for the calendar years 2003 to 2007, the said year’s financial position reached capital deficiency (that is, total liabilities exceeded total assets).
- 2006. Jemah Television (producer of boxing events, Shakey’s V-League and other sporting events) ended their partnership deal.
- 2007. Up Close & Personal by Marissa del Mar bagged the last PMPC Star Awards for the network as the Best Public Affairs Program and its Host, respectively.
- 2008. Makisig Network blocktime deal wasn’t materialized and left expired.
- 2010. DYJJ-AM in Iloilo went off the air due to financial difficulties, although they were talks to revive the station but it was discontinued. This year marked the worst capital deficiency ever recorded and audited at PHP 1.058 billion.
- 2012. The last nominations, other than the Best TV Station, from Rey Langit was submitted for the PMPC Star Awards.
- 2013. AKTV blocktime pulled out after two years from Manny V. Pangilinan.
- 2014. Asian Television Content’s primetime blocktime lasted three months from June to August but relegated as a sports block time until the following year.
- 2016. CESAFI and NAASCU, under ATC Sports blocktimer for the network last year, were transferred to AksyonTV and Solar Sports & BTV respectively.
For the calendar year 2015, the Commission on Audit issued a disclaimer of opinion — thus, they cannot release their audited financial statements — for being mismanaged in keeping their books of accounts. For some, it was a good thing but the Turf speaks otherwise: How can investors and the public know how IBC is performing and standing before the privatization?
Mismanagement aside, the constitutional commission also observed that the management enjoyed bonuses despite the suffered consistent losses and ballooning unpaid liabilities — especially on the lion’s share of unpaid retirement and separation pay. This is obviously ridiculous within the rules of business.
The call of long overdue privatization continued by marching towards Batasan every State of the Nation Address every July, blending with the rallyists in redressing their grievances. One of its news talents, Jess Caduco, had a conversation with Joshua Jimenez over Facebook last June on the latter’s blog, Banat.
Last January 25, then President Benigno Aquino III gave a green light for privatization with a minimum bid of PHP 1.97 billion. Five months later, Presidential Communications Office Chief Martin Andanar reaffirmed the plan and increased the bid to its current value.
Profiling the 2 potential bidders
After the consent from ex-President, though obscured due to heated and hectic political campaigns, two familiar persons (juridically speaking) are interested to own IBC: Eric Canoy of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) and Ramon S. Ang.
A fellow Turfer, Jerick Ilagan, proposed that a joint venture would be the best solution but as the common rules of bidding prevail, there can only be one. Such joint venture would happen soon after the undisclosed yet stipulated grace period expires. Let’s talk about them one at the time.
Eric Canoy, the former president of the network, could use the network for his family’s venture into television. His roots in Cagayan de Oro could be an advantage (parochialism) if he wins the bid but the potential woes that will haunt him is the treatment history for unpaid employees — some kind of self-interest and familiarity threat.
Ramon S. Ang needs no further profile background. The current CEO of San Miguel Corporation also intended to partake in the bid. His intention would indirectly mark a blow or a smack in Atty. Felipe Gozon’s face for the latter’s egocentrism, after breaking the deal with GMA more than a year ago. However, millenial keyboard warriors would pejoratively label him as a potential “oligarch” in the same line with the Lopez family but he reiterated that this venture is “personal.”
DBS 35’s formal relaunch still nowhere
At the height of his real estate expansion in Paranaque City, Bro. Mike Velarde bought the AM radio station on 1314 kHz in 1981 following his recovery from heart ailment to propagate the healing message from the Word of God. The acquisition and operation sought and built his foundation of El Shaddai Charismatic group in 1984.
Since 1992, his program broadcasts over television on IBC 13 every Saturday morning with a replay every Sunday midnight. Though the broadcast is a week behind from their main headquarters. He used to share with the Evangelical Villanueva family on Channel 11’s airtime and stake from 1995 until 1998 when the latter took over and became ZOE Broadcasting Network (now leased by GMA as their “News” TV).
After handing down that decision, he decided to move his own broadcasting network, Delta Broadcasting System (DBS) to Channel 35 with the call sign, DWXI-TV (giving a nod to his former frequency), until ceased in 2004 due to low ratings.
In 2012-13, as written by Bro. Ryan A. America’s blog, Preachers in Notebook, Bro. Mike promised during a Weekly Family Appointment in Amvel, Paranaque that DBS 35 (under the new call sign, DWDE-TV) as will be relaunched in the end of the year; it failed to reach the deadline. Last year, they promised to launch in time for the Papal visit but it never happened. Although just recently for a few days and last July 14, they had their test broadcast but the lack of public relations and/or unclear communication from any representative of DBS remains us doubtful if they are good to go smoothly. Even worse, there is no definite timetable or a Gantt chart on when the formal relaunching of Channel 35 will eventually be materialized.
Perhaps, we should know better; Bro. Mike’s preaching schedule is too hectic. He has engagements on different chapters of El Shaddai, particularly on their anniversaries, unless sickness prevents him to do so. Such hindrance will delegate it to his sons, Bro. Rene or Mariano, and/or his fellows in the preachers’ inner circle.
This Saturday (August 20) will be his 77th birthday and still alive and kicking and at the same time, his Catholic Charismatic Community will turn 32. However, there is no clear statement from DBS but his earthly time is nearly wrapping up. In God’s own time will come when he faces in contemplation of death; he must not only pass the torch of preaching to his successor but he must also pass the yoke of the venture.
What do they have in common?
Aside from Bro. Mike’s involvement, there are two reasons that have a common connection that made themselves the BIGGEST LOSERS now and in the future.
First, both networks don’t have enough involvement or clear policy on utilizing social media, including live streaming. In this age, social media and the Internet overtook television as a primary form of entertainment and information (and misinformation).
Second, both of them have the biggest consequences during and after digital television transition. IBC 13 is the last VHF network that does not have an assigned DTV testing ground; DBS 35 will formally relaunch under analog transmission but having an unsettled finalization of the date would be too little too late. Not to mention, the latter’s vain opportunity to launch continues to prevail because of the “must carry” rule implemented by the National Telecommunications Commission. They are required to be present in all lineups from different cable and satellite companies across the archipelago.
If the analog signals shut down in 2020 and they remain under status quo, they’ll lose the game. With that, fresh and existing enterprises will take the better opportunity to take over their frequencies.
Permutations & consequences before 2020
As nimbus clouds continue to hover over both Old Balara and Amvel with their respective vain hopes — a pipe dream of renaissance for IBC 13 and mere speculation of revival for DBS 35. Let’s see how will they spend their last years in analog:
- If Bro. Mike finally has a free time to relaunch DBS as soon as possible, he may pull off the block time from IBC after 24 years. However, this would deprive its viewers where the VHF has a clearer signal than the UHF. That said would have a greater chance to shut IBC down for good.
- What if DBS won’t relaunch at all? Bro. Mike should have just donated the money to purchase new equipment or their TV broadcasting assets to Broadcast City. It may sound humane yet possibly unlawful and potentially unchristian.
- As stated before, maintaining status quo and worsening the quality thereof will both lead to the no-win situation between them and the viewers — again, biggest losers.
- If IBC finally gets privatized and both with DBS received their necessary digital TV apparatuses through donation with proper and periodic testing, both cases will get their win-win situation.
That all being said, time is indeed of the essence for both cases. Putting that in religious perspective, the time of harvest that they reaped is at hand. Fence-sitting will lead them nothing but going constant to worsening mediocrity.
“Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.” (Proverbs 25:14)
A big thanks to Gab Hernandez for contribution on IBC 13’s timeline.
- IBC logo: Wikimedia Commons
- DBS logo: Delta Broadcasting System, Inc.
- Marissa del Mar: Twitter
- IBC and PTV Employees’ Union: Inquirer.net
- Eric Canoy: RMN
- Ramon S. Ang: Market Monitor
- Bro. Mike Velarde: Quierosaber’s Blog