MANILA - The proposed temporary use for distance learning of the TV and radio frequencies that were assigned to ABS-CBN Corp. is "not necessary," a lawmaker said Friday.
Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement that the resolution filed by Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte that seeks the government's temporary use of the frequencies earlier assigned to ABS-CBN will be costly.
"There is no need to use ABS-CBN’s frequencies for distance learning because the government has so much television frequencies in PTV-4 and IBC-13 and also AM/FM radio frequencies in the Philippine Broadcast Service," Lagman said, referring to the state-run television station People’s Television Network, Inc. and the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp., as well as state radio stations.
"Using ABS-CBN’s frequencies can be expensive because towers, transmitters, and allied infrastructures would have to be constructed and there is also the requirement of public bidding, as well as the need for engineers," he said.
The lawmaker also said time is running out for the government to negotiate with ABS-CBN Corp. over the frequencies due to the opening of school which is on August 24.
Lagman added that distance learning "should ideally be interactive", particularly via the internet using apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams which do not need broadcast frequencies.
"The government has an existing free Wi-Fi project which can be used for distance learning," he said, referring to the Free Internet Wi-Fi Connectivity which covers subscription of broadband connectivity for free public use.
Lagman said this is funded by fees collected by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from telecommunications companies.
"The implementing agency is the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)," he said.
Villafuerte's proposal came days after the House of Representatives denied ABS-CBN a fresh franchise, forcing it off the air amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Camarines Sur lawmaker was one of the 70 who voted against the network's franchise renewal.
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