ABS-CBN offers free gov't use of transmission network

The Philippines' largest broadcaster ABS-CBN on Monday, July 27, offered government free use of its transmission network nationwide for the broadcast of educational programs.

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte attacked the network in his 2020 State of the Nation Address. The President also said that TV frequencies returned to the government, such as that of ABS-CBN, will be used to “provide uninterrupted quality education” to Filipino students. (READ: House committee rejects franchise for ABS-CBN)

In a statement, ABS-CBN said its commitment is to serve the public “in whatever capacity we can.”

“In response to the educational thrust of the government in this time of the pandemic, we are offering the use of our transmission network to broadcast educational programs all over the country. We hope to help the government continuously educate students nationwide despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic,” the network said.

On top of the transmission network, ABS-CBN is also offering the use of all educational programs it produced in the last two decades.

“While this is not expected to have any business impact on the company, we are hopeful that our network can help in the education of our students nationwide,” it said.

ABS-CBN has the widest transmission network in the country, with 35 regional television stations, 16 FM stations, and 3 AM stations.

The network is also involved in digital and cable businesses, which it will now focus on after failing to secure a fresh franchise from Congress. It is unclear if these will be included in its offer to the government.

President Duterte has repeatedly attacked the media, especially ABS-CBN and its owners – a move condemned by human rights groups and journalists.

Duterte's allies in Congress have also pushed for the sequestration of other ABS-CBN properties and businesses. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com