Explore ABS-CBN offer to use transmission network for e-learning, gov’t told
MANILA, Philippines — The government should “explore” the offer of broadcast giant ABS-CBN to use its transmission network for distance learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte said Tuesday.
Villafuerte, who earlier proposed that the government make use of ABS-CBN’s television and radio frequencies for distance learning this coming school year, said the inter-agency formed by President Rodrigo Duterte to craft an integrated program on harnessing broadcast frequencies available to the state in the switch to e-learning should examine the offer.
“The new inter-agency panel announced by President Duterte in his 5th SONA should explore ABS-CBN’s offer, given that the network’s extensive nationwide reach on the back of its television and radio facilities across the country would give a big boost to the Chief Executive’s push for e-learning or distance education in lieu of face-to-face classroom teaching until such time that a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 has been developed and is available to the public,” Villafuerte said in a statement.
Villafuerte earlier pointed out that the 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).
In his speech on Monday, Duterte said that TV frequencies that would be reverted to the government should be used to aid the country’s shift to e-learning as the COVID-19 pandemic restricts schools from holding physical classes.
He then directed several government officials “to come up with program and implementation mechanism to ensure that these TV frequencies are fully utilized by the government to the facilities of the [state-owned] PTV-4 for the utmost benefit of the Filipino people.”
Following this, ABS-CBN released a statement offering its transmission assets to the Duterte administration.
“We hope to help the government continuously educate students nationwide despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic,” ABS-CBN said.
ABS-CBN likewise offered to the government the use of all the educational programs it produced, particularly the ready-to-air educational lessons it had produced and aired on its Knowledge Channel in consultation with the Department of Education (DepEd).
The broadcast giant has stopped its operations following a cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on May 5 after the broadcast giant’s franchise expired.
Its bid for a new 25-year franchise was then denied by the House committee on legislative franchise.
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