The education sector has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic—the academic year was disrupted as face-to-face classes can pose a great risk to students’ and faculties’ health and safety. Many have since transitioned to having online classes just to continue the academic year, but unfortunately, not everyone has access to online classes.
Despite this, the Department of Education (DepEd) is keen on opening the new academic year on August 24. This move by the DepEd has been criticized due to the country’s unpreparedness in holding online classes—several areas have limited access to the Internet, some institutions lack resources to purchase needed devices, and many more.
To address these issues, Camarines Sur 2nd District representative LRay Villafuerte proposes that ABS-CBN’s frequencies be used for distance learning. (Read: It’s Showtime, Other ABS-CBN Shows to Return on Cable and Satellite TV)
It can be recalled that the network giant’s franchise expired on May 4 and their application for a franchise renewal was denied on July 10, which meant its frequencies are currently vacant.
House Bill 1044, filed by Rep. Villafuerte, wants to utilize these vacant ABS-CBN frequencies for distance learning so that students and teachers in far-flung areas not yet reached by digital infrastructure can still access their classes.
“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,” the representative said.
The franchise denial has left a lot of frequencies vacant, such as Channels 2 and 23 on TV, and DZMM Radyo Patrol 630 on Radio. The franchise denial has also left 11,000 people jobless, and retrenchment is reported to start in August, as ABS-CBN has no choice but to cease operations of some of their businesses.