ABS-CBN offers transmission assets for e-learning during pandemic
MANILA, Philippines—ABS-CBN Corp. is offering the Duterte administration the use of its television transmission assets around the Philippines as the government eyes distance learning during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We hope to help the government continuously educate students nationwide despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic,” ABS-CBN said in a statement after President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday (July 27).
“In response to the educational thrust of the government in this time of the pandemic, we are offering the use of our transmission network to broadcast educational programs all over the country,” ABS-CBN said.
During the SONA, Mr. Duterte called on the use of the government’s radio frequency assets for “uninterrupted quality education to our children in our shift to e-learning.”
ABS-CBN’s transmission network is now switched off ever since the media giant was ordered to cease television and radio broadcasts after its 25-year broadcast franchise expired— a move that was criticized as politically motivated.
Duterte had publicly threatened the media giant, owned by the influential Lopez family, over unaired political ads during the 2016 elections.
Last July 10, lawmakers allied with Duterte voted to reject ABS-CBN’s franchise bid, triggering mass layoffs while ensuring the company would stay off the airwaves for the foreseeable future.
ABS-CBN’s transmission equipment is specifically tuned to its assigned frequencies, which the administration wants to recall.
And while there were earlier suggestions for the government to deploy ABS-CBN frequencies for remote learning, these cannot be used without investments in the appropriate transmission gear.
ABS-CBN’s offer would thus lead to public savings should the Duterte administration accept it.
On top of the use of its transmission network, ABS-CBN is also offering the use of its library of educational programs produced over the last 20 years.
“While this is not expected to have any business impact on the company, we are hopeful that our network can help in the education of our students nationwide,” ABS-CBN said in its statement.
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