Palace: NTC can award ABS-CBN frequencies to others
Malacañang said on Thursday that the National Telecommunications Commission can now award the frequencies of ABS-CBN Corp., both in television and radio, now that it has no more franchise.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also said it would be up to the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education if they would tap ABS-CBN's frequencies for their blended or distance learning as proposed by one congressman.
"It can now be awarded by the NTC. That's the function of the NTC and we leave it to the NTC what will happen to the frequency," he said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
The administration-controlled House committee on legislative franchises junked ABS-CBN's application for the renewal of its 25-year franchise, which expired on May 4.
Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte, one of the 70 lawmakers who voted against the network's franchise application, filed a resolution seeking to allow government to use ABS-CBN's television and radio frequencies for remote learning.
Roque said it would be up to DepEd and CHED if they would want to use the frequencies, which used to be held by the Lopez-owned broadcast network.
"I don’t know what the position is right now, I have to confer. I have not heard of any proposals emanating either from (DepEd) Secretary (Leonor) Briones or (CHED) chair (Prospero) Popoy (De Vera) that they want the frequencies of ABS-CBN and DZMM for blended learning. Let me check," he said.
DZMM is one of the ABS-CBN's radio stations in the country.
Roque noted that currently, the government has television networks, such as IBC-13 and PTV-4.
"But it may not be sufficient because we have K to 12 and there's also the possibility that some institutions of higher learning may require it," he said, noting that during the meeting on Wednesday night in Malacañang with President Rodrigo Duterte, De Vera reported that 40 percent of state universities and colleges do not have access to Wi-Fi.
"So, I would say that frequencies are now crucial for education now at the time of COVID-19 (coronavirus)," Roque said.
Both the DepEd and CHED are planning to hold classes starting next month with the students not physically going to school to avoid coronavirus infection. Celerina Monte/DMS