Philippines, religion, television

Sunday Mass on Philippine Television

Sundays are family days, and one obligation of a family every Sunday is to attend weekly Mass. During early Sunday mornings, a majority of television stations air a live Sunday Mass for families who have no time going to church. However, there were some exceptions.

GMA, for some reason, does not broadcast a weekly Sunday Catholic mass. Instead, they air programs that preach the word of God in a different way. Bro. Eddie Villanueva‘s Jesus is Lord Church has been loyal to the GMA Network for over three decades, airing the flagship program ‘Jesus the Healer’ every Sunday morning. In addition, the said program also airs on sister station GMA News TV on Saturday mornings. After ‘Jesus the Healer’, Dr. Charles Stanley‘s In Touch Ministries air their flagship program on the said network. Like JIL, In Touch and GMA have a loyal relationship that has stretched over two decades.

Even though network affiliate GMA Pinoy TV has committed to air a live Sunday Mass for OFWs every week, the fact that GMA does not commit to air a live Sunday Mass on a weekly basis still baffles me. Although they have aired a Mass on occasion, such events are only aired every Christmas and Holy Week, and is aired via satellite from the Vatican. GMA needs to air a weekly Sunday Mass like its competitors ABS-CBN and TV5, unless they prove that their braintrust are not practicing Catholics.

Net 25, for obvious reasons, is owned by the Iglesia ni Cristo, whose flagship programs likewise air every weekend morning on the said network. Although the INC has its own television network, unfortunately they still air their programs on Net 25, despite the fact that both were UHF television networks. Still, its loyalty to the INC is immeasurable.

Exceptions aside, Sunday Mass on television has been a tradition since the 1960s. Sunday Mass always kicks off the Sunday schedule for most television networks, whose programming that day is normally dedicated to families everywhere. For those who have no time going to church, tuning in to Sunday Mass on television is a need to rediscover both Jesus Christ and salvation.

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entertainment, Philippines, television

The Net 25 Under the INC Spell

The original Net 25 logo, back before the Iglesia ni Cristo made its way to Net 25’s air time. (Logo courtesy of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation).

Back when they were still not airing Iglesia ni Cristo programs, Net 25 provided alternative programming for viewers too bored to watch teleseryes. Remember when they used to air Ocean Girl, Thunder Stone, The New Yankee Workshop, House Calls, TechTV, etc.? That was the Net 25 I used to know. Now it is all but a distant memory.

The old Net 25 delivered programs that were cited with the Anak TV seal. It had a dedicated fanbase who loved to watch the network’s canned programs from various countries such as Australia and Germany. And they were also one of the first networks to air techie programs from the now-defunct TechTV network in the US. Unfortunately, when the heated Iglesia ni Cristo-Ang Dating Daan feud got underway in 2001, Net 25 stepped in to air INC’s Ang Tamang Daan while SBN 21 aired ADD at the 9:00 p.m. timeslot.

Gradually Net 25 added more programs produced by the Iglesia ni Cristo, rendering its canned programs expendable. In the years that followed, the network started producing their own programs, such as Convergence, while expanding their focus on the INC. Even as GEM-TV 49 (now INC-TV) started to air in 2005, Net 25 continues to air programming from the INC.

In my view, Net 25 today is merely a clone of INC-TV, featuring most of the same programming and focus. And although Net 25 still airs news programs and general interest shows, it is clear that they focus more on the programs produced by the Iglesia ni Cristo. No disrespect to the INC, but this is not how Net 25 is being run. Why? Because both channels are on free TV. Had INC-TV become a cable-exclusive network rather than a free TV channel, Net 25 would have been complemented by the network and given block time.

To this day, I don’t think Net 25 has what it takes to become a distinct and useful source for alternative programming. They used to be ‘the’ network with never-before-seen canned programs. But with the Iglesia ni Cristo invading most of their air time, Net 25 became a mere shell of its former self, supplementing rather than complementing its programs. The old Net 25 is great, but the current one is just too cluttered.

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