Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) undersecretary Ramon “RJ” Jacinto has been appointed as the agency’s main official in charge of government digital broadcast television and the digitization of the entertainment industry sector.
Jacinto has been tasked to lead the DICT in assisting government-owned and/or controlled television broadcasting entities, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), and the Department of Education (DepEd) in broadcasting basic education content as the country transitions to the new normal in the education sector amid the Covid-19 crisis.
He was also put in-charge of assisting the Philippine entertainment industry towards digitalization. He is tasked to coordinate and collaborate with various entertainment industry guilds, organizations, associations, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the National Live Events Coalition of the Philippines (NCLEP), the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines (NCCAP), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), and the public and private sector institutions involved in the Philippine entertainment industry.
At present, the DICT said it is closely working together with DepEd and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in ensuring the education sector’s access to broadcast, connectivity, and digital security in the upcoming school year 2020 to 2021.
In a letter dated July 29, 2020, the DICT directed the NTC to provide information and technical support to implement the government’s directive to utilize available broadcast frequencies via the broadcast facilities of the People’s Television Network (PTV-4).
In response, the NTC has submitted the list of radio and TV stations of PTV-4 and the Philippine Broadcast Service. The NTC also provided a technical framework to implement PTV-4’s use of available broadcast frequencies to deliver educational content from DepEd to the different parts of the country.
The DICT has also earlier issued a formal request to the NTC to secure the cooperation of broadcast stations, channels, and cable television providers in allocating broadcast hours for DepEd learning and instructional materials free of charge as part of the Basic Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP).
The NTC in return released a memorandum on June 10, 2020 directing radio and TV broadcast networks and operators to assist DepEd in ensuring the continuity of providing quality education amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Citing relevant provisions in their franchises, the NTC stated that broadcast networks and operators have the responsibility to provide free and adequate public service time to be used by the government in informing the public of important issues, announcements, and warnings, as well as assisting in the functions of public information and education.
A provision on the authorization granted by the NTC also requires radio and TV broadcast networks and operators to provide the national government free access to their facilities for a minimum of 30 hours per month.
In a separate memorandum, NTC also directed cable TV operators in the Philippines to provide assistance to DepEd. Citing Section 6.3.2 of NTC Memorandum Circular No. 4-08-88 or the Revised Rules and Regulations Governing Cable Television Systems in Philippines, the NTC highlighted cable TV systems’ responsibility to provide access channel to the government for free as a public service feature.
Jacinto said they are currently in talks with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) regarding the government’s initiative to utilize broadcast resources for the continuance of education.