Press Release
May 15, 2020


With the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic affecting the country's education system, Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino urges the Department of Education (DepEd) to partner with PTV4 and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to boost the reach of DepEd's distance learning program in a bid to educate more students.

During the Senate Committee on Basic Education's hearing, Tolentino said the government-owned television station PTV-4 is instrumental in strengthening distance learning.

"The PTV-4, as a free TV channel, is an ideal platform especially to students who don't have internet access at home," the lawmaker said.

Tolentino likewise asked NTC Deputy Commissioner Engr. Edgardo Cabarios to coordinate with the DepEd to make this a reality.

"Dapat kumikilos na ang NTC and act as a bridge between PTV-4 and DepEd," said Tolentino, adding that countries like China and Kenya are using their respective state-owned television stations as platform for distant learning for maximum reach.

"Sa China at Kenya ginagawa iyan. Nagpapalabas ng mga program doon para matuto mga bata," said Tolentino stressed.

Cabarios, for his part, agreed with Tolentino's proposal, saying the NTC will issue a circular or memorandum on the matter.

The lawmaker also proposed that educational shows that will be carried by PTV-4 be also shown in school gymnasiums, with the observance of proper social distancing, for wider reach.

The committee, Chaired by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, also tackled two of Tolentino's other measures - Senate Bills No. 1457 and 1458.

In his Senate Bill No. 1457, Tolentino wants to give the sitting DepEd Secretary the power to defer opening of classes and shorten the start of school year during emergencies and calamities.

If enacted into law, Tolentino's Senate Bill No. 1458 will empower the DepEd Secretary to shorten the school year and mass promote the students during calamities and emergencies.

The DepEd also briefly tackled the expansion of the basic education curriculum, which is the subject of Tolentino's Senate Bill No. 1460. "Sana po naisama natin ang Senate Bill No. 1460 sa pagdinig dahil malaki ang maitutulong nito para maresolba ang problema," said Tolentino.

In Senate Bill No. 1460, Tolentino wants the DepEd to develop a national education policy framework for online or broadcast learning delivery. Under the measure, the expansion may include distance education and online learning, to address current and future developments that would require the recalibration of the "in-person" school system.

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