Former Presidential Adviser Ramon P. Jacinto was appointed Undersecretary for Government Digital Broadcast Television and the Digitization of the Entertainment Industry Sector of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Undersecretary 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 Coronavirus Disease 2019 (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, through the offices of the Undersecretary for Government Digital Broadcast Television and the Digitization of the Entertainment Industry Sector and the Assistant Secretary for Digital Philippines, are 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 29 July 2020, the DICT directed the NTC to provide information, technical support, and assistance necessary to implement President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive to ensure provision of uninterrupted quality education by utilizing available broadcast frequencies using the broadcast facilities of the People’s Television Network (PTV-4).

On 13 August 2020, the NTC responded to the DICT and 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 dated 11 June 2020 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).

In response, the NTC released a memorandum on 10 June 2020 directing Radio and TV broadcast networks and operators to assist DepEd in ensuring continuity of providing quality education amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Citing relevant provisions in the broadcasting companies’ 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 commission also obliges radio and TV broadcast networks and operators to provide the national government free access to their facilities for a minimum of thirty (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, NTC highlighted cable TV systems’ responsibility to provide access channel to the government for free as a public service feature.

Undersecretary 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.