Duterte orders gov't use of untapped TV frequencies for e-learning

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 27) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday tasked several Cabinet officials to ensure the government can freely use untapped television frequencies.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address, the President said this will give the government a wider reach in its efforts to carry out online learning as he reiterated that no face-to-face classes will be held without an available COVID-19 vaccine.

"TV frequencies reverted back to government for whatever cause or reason shall not be used exclusively to the exclusion of other persons or dummies to cope up with the demand of the next normal," he said.

He ordered the Secretaries of Communication and Information, Science and Technology, Education, Finance, and Budget and Management to ensure this will be completed as soon as possible.

"It shall be the government who should be given the first option to utilize them. Ang sobra sa kanila (The remaining frequencies will be theirs)," the President added.

Earlier this month, a lawmaker said the government should use the former television and radio frequencies of ABS-CBN.

RELATED: Solon who voted against ABS-CBN franchise bid wants gov't to use the network's TV, radio frequencies

Deputy Speaker Luis Raymond "LRay" Villafuerte Jr, who admitted he was one of the 70 lawmakers who voted to deny the media giant's franchise bid, filed a resolution for the government's temporary "use of untapped television and radio frequencies as those vacated by ABS-CBN."

Villafuerte did not explain how the government can use the frequencies — whether it will install transmitters nationwide or pay ABS-CBN for use of its transmitters.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises on July 10 junked the media giant's license application after its franchise expired on May 4, which forced it to go off air for the second time since martial law in 1972.

Duterte, who has continuously lashed out at the network and urged the Lopez family to sell ABS-CBN, has insisted his neutrality on the death of the media giant's franchise.