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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged the government Wednesday (July 29) to accept ABS-CBN’s offer to use its transmission network and educational programs for distance learning ahead of the opening of classes on August 24.

Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said the government will face fewer hurdles in the broadcast of educational programs by using ABS-CBN’s transmission network.

He said the television-based educational program that the government will produce should be accessible and conducive for learners with disabilities and those enrolled in the Alternative Learning System (ALS), DepEd’s parallel program for those who cannot access formal education due to economic, geographic, political, cultural, and social barriers.

“Dahil abot ng ABS-CBN ang malaking bahagi ng bansa, isang malaking tulong ang kanilang alok na magamit ang kanilang transmission network at mga programa upang maipagpatuloy ang edukasyon sa gitna ng pandemya. Sa kabila ng krisis na ating pinagdaraanan, mahalagang gamitin natin ang lahat ng posibleng paraan upang maabot natin ang bawat mag-aaral,” Gatchalian said.

In his penultimate State of the Nation Address on July 27, President Rodrigo Duterte said television frequencies reverting to the government will be used to provide uninterrupted quality education amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to distance learning.

Duterte also directed government agencies such as DepEd, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to come up with an integrated program and implementation mechanism to utilize these frequencies using the facilities of state-run People’s Television Network (PTV-4).

ABS-CBN reaches over 19 million households out of more than 21 million nationwide. It also operates Knowledge Channel, which has produced thousands of educational contents, in partnership with the DepEd over the years.

Earlier this month, ABS-CBN said Knowledge Channel can easily reach as many as 7.6 million students nationwide. Knowledge Channel added that it already developed in video format 50 percent of the most essential learning competencies (MELCs) that DepEd requires to be taught for the school year.

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