Solon proposes to use ABS-CBN frequencies for distance learning

MANILA – A lawmaker has proposed the temporary use by the government of ABS-CBN’s former television and radio frequencies for effective distance learning.

Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte filed on Tuesday House Resolution 1044, a copy of which was sent to the media on Wednesday.

Villafuerte said the unused frequencies can be tapped to deliver alternative distance learning modes to keep students engaged.

He also recommended that the frequencies may be used to disseminate information on coronavirus disease (Covid-19) prevention, control, risk reduction, and preparedness.

He cited a World Bank report stating that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing more than 1.6 billion children and youth to be out of school in 161 countries or around 80 percent of the students in the world.

He noted that the Philippines is among the countries experiencing a learning crisis due to the pandemic.

“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.

“Engaging our students require[s] going beyond exclusive reliance on online strategies. The reduction of losses in learning require[s] creativity in remote learning strategies,” he added.

Last Friday, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises approved by a 70-11 vote, with one abstention, the resolution denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corp. to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines. Two other lawmakers inhibited from voting.

The previous House hearings have exhaustively discussed the network’s franchise issues, including the citizenship of ABS-CBN chair emeritus Gabby Lopez; the possible violation of the constitutional limits on foreign ownership; reported labor and tax violations; and other violations of the terms of its legislative franchise.

ABS-CBN stopped its television and radio broadcasts on May 5 after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order following the expiration of the network’s 25-year legislative franchise on May 4.

On June 30, the NTC issued another cease and desist order directing the media network to stop operating its digital television transmission using Amcara Broadcasting Corp.’s Channel 43.

The order affected programs aired on ABS-CBN’s TVPlus offerings, which include Cine Mo!, Yey!, DZMM Teleradyo, Jeepney TV, Asianovela Channel, and its pay-per-view channel KBO. (PNA)

By Filane Mikee Cervantes  July 15, 2020