Palace thanks ABS CBN for offer to use its transmission network for education

Published July 28, 2020, 9:31 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

A day after President Duterte branded the Lopez family as oligarchs, Malacañang expressed thanks for ABS-CBN’s offer to let the government use its transmission network to promote alternative education of students.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.(CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.(CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The Lopez-owned broadcast firm, which shut down its free television and radio stations following a lapsed franchise, has offered to broadcast the educational programs to facilitate the learning of students during the pandemic. Educational programs produced by the network will also be available for use to help the students.

“Kung gobyerno po ang gagamit, salamat po at baka naman pupuwedeng gamitin iyong transmission at iyong mga materyales ng ABS-CBN. (If the government will use it, thank you for the possible use of the transmission network and the materials of ABS-CBN),” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday.

While the Palace welcomed the ABS-CBN’s latest offer, Roque made clear that the President remained “neutral” on the franchise issue of the network. He insisted that the President did not interfere with the House vote on the franchise bid of the network, and even let the lawmakers vote according to their conscience.

On the President’s tirade against the Lopezes in his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA), Roque explained that the President has forgiven the network but still has a personal stance on the issue.

In his annual address, the President claimed that he became a “casualty’ of the Lopez family during the 2016 elections as he unleashed a tirade against the oligarchy in the country. 

“Great wealth enables economic elites and corporations to influence public policy to their advantage. Media is a powerful tool in the hands of oligarchs like the Lopezes who used their media outlets in their battles with political figures. I am a casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 election,” Duterte said. 

In the same speech, the President announced plans to tap television frequencies returned to the state to provide blended education for students. Concerned agencies have been directed to craft the integrated program and implementation mechanism to ensure that these TV frequencies are fully utilized by government through the People’s Television network-4 for the benefit of the Filipino people.

Duterte has refused to allow traditional face-to-face classes until the coronavirus vaccine is available to ensure the health of students is available. “I cannot and will not put to risk the health and lives of our students and teachers,” he said.

Duterte also explained that his recent decision to allow face-to-face classes by January was premised on the condition on the availability of the vaccines. 

Roque made clear that blended learning of students will push through as scheduled next moth. The proposed face-to-face classes may resume by January in some areas if the vaccines will be available by then, he added.

“Ang sabi po ng Presidente, kung mayroong vaccine at tingin naman niya sa Enero magkaka-vaccine na, baka naman po magkaroon po tayo ng face-to-face classes (The President said if there is a vaccine by January, we might have face-to-face classes),” he said.

Last week, the President approved the education department’s proposal to hold limited face-to-face classes in low risk modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas starting January with strict implementation of health measures.