‘Walang signal?’ NTC fails to connect to Senate virtual hearing on online learning
MANILA, Philippines —Did the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) lose its signal during a Senate committee hearing on the country’s preparedness to shift to online learning amid the pandemic?
Due to “technical issues,” NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios had trouble connecting to the Senate basic education committee’s virtual hearing on Thursday.
This, when Senator Francis Tolentino called on Cabarios to inquire about plans to coordinate with state-owned broadcast networks, which can be used as another platform for learning.
“Are you there? NTC? Ed Cabarios? Commissioner? Walang signal ang NTC,” Tolentino said, which elicited laughter from those present during the hearing. “That’s a very good omen.”
(Are you there? NTC? Ed Cabarios? Commissioner? NTC has no signal)
However, there was no response from the NTC official.
“NTC naririnig niyo kami? Please unmute. Dapat ang pinakamalakas na signal is NTC and I think you’re just here in Metro Manila. Hindi ho marinig. NTC you don’t have any signal,” he added.
(NTC can you hear us? Please unmute. NTC should have the strongest connection and I think you’re just here in Metro Manila. We can’t hear you. NTC, you don’t have any signal)
At this point, committee chair Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on other resource persons to answer questions on a different topic.
Several minutes later, Tolentino went back to his question for NTC. However, it was still left unanswered.
“NTC? It seems that you’re the only one not connected here. Wala pa rin” he said.
(NTC? It seems that you’re the only one not connected here. We still can’t hear you)
Gatchalian surmised that the NTC official failed to connect due to technical problems.
“Commissioner Cabarrios? Okay na ba ho kayo? Mukhang may technical problems po ang NTC,” he said.
(Commissioner Cabarrios? Is your signal okay now? It looks like NTC is having technical problems).
The senator even jested: “Pag may technical problems ang NTC parang nawawalan na po ako ng pag-asa sa online learning na mangyayari sa bansa natin dahil ang NTC po ang regulator ng telcos.”
(If the NTC is having technical problems, I think I may lose hope for online learning here in the country because NTC is the regulator of telcos)
“But unfortunate ho na ‘di gumagana ang inyong ano dahil maganda yung mga queries ni Senator Tolentino. Continue to fix it para may pag-asa pa ho kami sa Pilipinas mag-online learning,” he added.
(But it’s unfortunate that your signal is acting up because Senator Tolentino is asking good queries. Continue to fix it so that we can restore hope for online learning in the Philippines)
Asked if the NTC reached out to the committee to explain what happened, Gatchalian told INQUIRER.net in a text message: “They (NTC) called the committee secretary to explain na technical issues daw.”
(They (NTC) called the committee secretary to explain that they were having technical issues)
Aside from the country’s preparedness for online learning, Gatchalian’s committee also tackled two Senate bills seen to “reduce the risk of not learning.”
“The Philippines is one of the youngest populations in the whole world and this is an asset for us but if this young population will not learn, then that’s an added cost to our society and that for me is a cost of not learning,” he said in his opening statement.
“So what we want to address today through the bills at hand is to reduce the risk of not learning, in my point of view whatever calamity, whether man-made, whether derived from human action, learning must go on,” he added.
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