news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Defying Father Time: Tina Monzon-Palma’s Return to The World Tonight

There is somewhat of a renewed vibe within ‘The World Tonight’.

In early January, viewers were surprised when broadcast legend Tina Monzon-Palma returned from her lengthy sabbatical to resume her duties as anchor of ‘The World Tonight’. It was as if she never left the confines of the ABS-CBN News Channel; after all, the network continued to feature Tina in their station IDs in spite of her absence.

But for the first time since Angelo Castro Jr.’s death six years ago, Tina would have a full-time co-anchor on her side.

That co-anchor was Tony Velasquez, who had been promoted to the position in 2017 and had been anchoring the newscast by himself in Tina’s absence. The two were no strangers to each other; Tony having previously handled some of the national and world news segments for several years.

Getting a partner of Tony’s caliber helped alleviate the pressure off of Tina’s back. Not only that, with ‘The World Tonight’ having cut its running time back to 30 minutes, Tina was no longer required to do the heavy lifting.

Still, there were some occasions in which she stuttered in the middle of a newscast, which is perhaps an obvious excuse for an aging news anchor like her. Regardless, Tina still possesses a sharp mind harnessed through years of experience, but at this point of her career, even she cannot prevent the ravages of time.

While Tina did return to ‘The World Tonight’, she did not resume her position as host of ‘Talkback’. Instead, the show was given on a full-time basis to Karmina Constantino, with Christian Esguerra as the substitute in her absence.

Given her age, it was only the right thing for Tina to just focus on ‘The World Tonight’. But for loyal viewers who have missed her immeasurable presence on the desk, it was worth the price of admission.

It remains to be seen if Tina Monzon-Palma can still be able to hold her fort amid a youth movement in Philippine broadcast news. But as long as someone of her caliber is present and willing to pass the torch to the future, everything will be just fine.

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news, Philippines, television

The World Tonight 50th Anniversary Documentary, Coming Soon

'The World Tonight' celebrates its 50th anniversary, with a documentary commemorating the milestone to air soon on the ABS-CBN News Channel. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

‘The World Tonight’ celebrates its 50th anniversary, with a documentary commemorating the milestone to air soon on the ABS-CBN News Channel. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

‘The World Tonight’, the Philippines’ longest-running English newscast, is 50 years old.

The gold standard among local newscasts, ‘The World Tonight’ has been on the air since November 21, 1966. The newscast became a witness to some of the country’s greatest moments, having covered the beginning of Martial Law, three EDSA People Power revolutions, seven Philippine presidential administrations, and other notable events.

Over the years, journalists such as Orly Mercado, Loren Legarda, Ces Drilon, Dyan Castillejo, Tina Monzon-Palma and the late Angelo Castro Jr. have become synonymous with ‘The World Tonight’. These days, lead anchor Tina Monzon-Palma, co-anchors Tony Velasquez, Cathy Yang and TJ Manotoc, and commentator Teddy Locsin Jr. continue to uphold its tradition of journalistic excellence.

‘The World Tonight’ endured four different stops during its 50-year run (technically 36 years thanks to Martial Law). They are:

  • ABS-CBN Channel 9 (1966-67)
  • ABS-CBN Channel 3 (1967-72)
  • ABS-CBN Channel 2 (1986-99)
  • ABS-CBN News Channel (1996-present)

While ‘The World Tonight’ lost 14 of its years to Martial Law, there is no denying the impact the newscast has had on the Filipino nation. And, like ABS-CBN’s golden anniversary celebration in 2003, the network decided to honor the 14 lost years of ‘The World Tonight’ in commemorating its 50th year, since it remains an important part of their history.

As announced during the second ANC X event in Rockwell, Makati, a documentary commemorating ‘The World Tonight”s 50th anniversary will air on ANC very soon. It will feature interviews from some of ‘The World Tonight”s past and present anchors, producers, and even ABS-CBN’s braintrust led by chairman Eugenio ‘Gabby’ Lopez III.

ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs head Ging Reyes paid tribute to ‘The World Tonight’ during the ANC X event, saying:

“’The World Tonight’ and ANC are one in keeping the Filipino audience informed and enlightened through all these years; two institutions that keep pushing for public enlightenment – the very foundation of any democracy. May these two strong institutions outlive us all.”

Indeed they are. And after 50 years, ‘The World Tonight’ is still going strong.

 

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country, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

1986: A Turning Point in Philippine Media

The late June Keithley, along with husband Angelo Castro Jr., were instrumental in bravely covering the EDSA Revolution and the eventual inauguration of President Corazon Aquino.

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the People Power Revolution. In commemoration of the event, this article will focus on the year 1986, a year that marked a new era in Philippine media history.

Before 1986, media in the Philippines was virtually dominated by the cronies of President Ferdinand Marcos. The most prominent of these networks were the Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation (BBC-2), and the Kanlaon Broadcasting System (KBS-9; later Radio Philippines Network). The now-People’s Television Network (PTV-4) and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) were also established during Martial Law. The only non-crony owned network at the time was GMA, which was sold by Bob Stewart to Felipe Gozon and operated under limited three-month permits. Some radio stations were also given permission to air, provided that they avoid airing any anti-Marcos statements.

However, certain events in Philippine history forever changed the media industry. The soon-to-be Kapuso network was the only station to cover the Ninoy Aquino assassination, and wife Cory’s declaration to run for the presidency. The defections of Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel V. Ramos from the Marcos regime was also covered by GMA. Channel 7’s brave stand was only the beginning, though.

Radio Veritas followed GMA’s lead by broadcasting Jaime Cardinal Sin’s message, urging people from all walks of life to flood the Murphy and Greenhills sections of EDSA in an effort to protect Enrile and Ramos. When Veritas was seized by the Marcos troops, Radyo Bandido (DZRJ 810) took over, with real-life couple June Keithley and Angelo Castro, Jr. broadcasting the proceedings.

Meanwhile, a broadcast of President Marcos’ press conference was aired on Channels 4 and 9, only to be cut off the air by the rebels. By this time, Marcos’ grip on power was slipping away, although he made a final official TV appearance as president when GMA and IBC covered his inauguration, which like Channels 4 and 9 were also invaded and cut off by the rebels.

While the inauguration of Corazon Aquino at Club Filipino was preserved on videotape, it was unclear if any network in the Philippines aired the said event. Nevertheless, with the departure of Ferdinand Marcos from Malacanang, the freedom of the press was restored, and with it came the return of ABS-CBN and the sequestration of Channels 4, 9 and 13.

The year 1986 was a period of change and progress in the Philippine media industry. The once-censored media is gone, and with it came a more free-wheeling and conscious approach to broadcasting, although it remains subject to various regulations by the Kapisanan ng Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). Even with the media now more widespread than ever, the lessons of Martial Law and EDSA will never be forgotten, and the experiences of each outlet will continue to have a huge impact on the industry in the years to come.

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