Use ABS-CBN’s radio-TV frequencies for alternative distance learning -- Villafuerte | Inquirer News

Use ABS-CBN’s radio-TV frequencies for alternative distance learning — Villafuerte

/ 11:40 AM July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — After ABS-CBN’s franchise bid was denied, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte is proposing that the government temporarily use the network’s television and radio frequencies for distance learning this coming school year to aid the country’s education system amid the pandemic.

In filing House Resolution No. 1044 dated July 14, Villafuerte, who voted to deny the media giant’s franchise application, said: “Exhausting all possible delivery modes such as the use of untapped television and radio frequencies as those vacated by ABS-CBN is important in keeping students engaged.”

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“The unused frequencies may also be used for information on COVID-19 prevention and control, risk reduction and preparedness,” Villafuerte said in the resolution.

The lawmaker said the former frequencies used by ABS-CBN will be useful especially in areas not yet reached by digital infrastructure, such as some of the communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM).  He said the Philippines is among the countries that are experiencing a “learning crisis” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Citing a World Bank report, Villafuerte said the pandemic is causing more than 1.6 billion children and youth to be out of school in 161 countries which comprise around 80 percent of the students in the world.

“Inequality and inaccessibility of opportunities such as those pertaining to internet connectivity and possession of a laptop pose a variety of challenges for teachers and learners,” Villafuerte said.

As of July 15, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported that over 20.2 million students have enrolled for the coming school year.

Villafuerte’s proposal came after 70 lawmakers in the House of Representatives’ legislative franchises committee voted against granting ABS-CBN a franchise, with only 11 lawmakers voting for the granting of the franchise.

The network has been off the air since early May after its television and radio operations nationwide were ordered shut following the expiration of its 25-year franchise, the renewal of which was pending in Congress at the time.

/MUF
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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, ABS-CBN shutdown
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