news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

A Message to RTVM: Make the 11:00 A.M. Press Conference Mandatory

‘Mindanao Hour’ at Malacañang Palace has become a regular occurrence of late, with its frequent interruptions in programming becoming an annoyance to viewers. (Photo credit: Presidential Communications Operations Office)

The press conferences at Malacañang Palace have become a regular occurrence.

In the last few weeks, news networks cut their regularly scheduled programming short in order to air these press briefings live. But while they appear important to the average person, many do not appreciate Malacañang’s unexpected interruptions.

Most of these recent press conferences focus on the state of Mindanao, particularly Marawi, during the island’s implementation of Martial Law. The so-called ‘Mindanao Hour’ usually takes place at around or past 11:00 a.m., and is led by presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella and other speakers of interest, most notably AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.

With the crisis in Marawi now reaching its 50th day (and counting), it all seems imperative for Malacañang to make the hourly press conferences mandatory for news organizations to follow. But so far, only the government-owned People’s Television Network, CNN Philippines and the ABS-CBN News Channel are the ones willing to air these events.

The rest? Some either broadcast these proceedings online or do not care at all.

If the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) were to ask, is it high time to make these press conferences a regular program? Perhaps the time is now right to do so, given the frequency of the event.

However, if the news organizations were to ask, are they prepared to handle a mandatory event such as the Malacañang press conferences? They may agree, but they could make some sacrifices to make the briefings work.

That said, these regular interruptions in programming require the complete cooperation and concentration between RTVM and fellow news outlets. If they choose to make the press conferences mandatory, they must be in the same page to make it work, as long as it does not interfere with their regular programs.

It is nice to get some much-needed updates and information from the most reliable sources. But if they regularly do so in an unexpected manner, then it may become an annoyance to people.

Update: It was announced that ‘Mindanao Hour’ will only take place on Monday and Friday, with written statements issued from Tuesday to Thursday. However, expect Malacañang to issue more press conferences in relation to other concerns of national interest.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Thoughts on Lack of Attention Regarding Palace Press Briefings

 

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Press briefings at the Malacañang Palace tend to be underappreciated by the media.

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte features two men who represent him during media engagements at the Palace. On one corner, there is presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, and on the other corner, there is Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Martin Andanar.

Both men have the responsibility of speaking with the media in behalf of President Duterte. Much of the conversation is usually directed on top media stories that affect the country, such as natural or man-made calamities, political controversies, and even the health of the President himself.

While the two are the primary voices of the Palace press briefing, they are also accompanied by other members of the Cabinet. They are here to discuss certain other issues that require immediate resolution.

Unfortunately, such live events are not taken for granted by a majority of media outlets in the country. Apart from the Radio-Television Malacañang (RTVM) which handles all live coverage involving the executive branch, only government station PTV-4 and private news network ABS-CBN News Channel have the privilege of bringing them live.

So where is the love as far as Palace press briefings are concerned? For some news networks, it seems like the appearances of Secretaries Abella and Andanar do not mean a thing, and that their only concern is with President Duterte himself.

Before making a negative reaction, here is the reason why news networks should also look at Secretaries Abella and Andanar. Their responsibilities as spokespeople behind the President are just as important in relaying information and opinion to both the media and the general public, even if they lack the powers that the President possess.

That said, the news media must carry these press briefings since these are deemed significant items to write about. After all, the President may be the country’s most powerful person, but even he/she can be human at times.

Overall, a press briefing at Malacañang Palace is just as necessary to cover as President Duterte’s speaking engagements. Whatever words Secretaries Abella and Andanar relay to the media will determine the country’s fate moving forward.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Thoughts on Prioritizing Executive Branch Over Legislative Branch in Live News Coverage

The executive branch (in this case President Rodrigo Duterte) will always be the top priority of news networks when it comes to live coverage. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

The executive branch (in this case President Rodrigo Duterte) will always be the top priority of news networks when it comes to live coverage. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

It is never easy to cover live news events in the Philippines.

For outlets such as People’s Television Network, CNN Philippines, GMA News TV, DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN News Channel, following a live broadcast of a news event takes sacrifice and dedication. With that, they sometimes preempt ongoing programs just to get into the meat of the action.

But what if there are two news events that take place at the same time? Like for example, an ongoing Senate or House hearing taking place alongside either a press briefing at Malacañang or a speech of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Obviously, the priority of the news networks is the executive branch, who always has the final say in political matters. That said, it is mandatory to cut away from a live Senate or House hearing just to move over to either the Palace or President Duterte himself.

But for some, cutting another live event short in favor of either Malacañang or the President can be rude at times. For them, not all headlines involve President Duterte and the Palace, and on occasion, the Senate or House hearing could be the top story of the day.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that they can do. Focusing the executive branch over the legislative branch in live news broadcasts is a long-standing tradition, one that news networks always abide.

For those who want to get the news straight, there is YouTube to take care of. Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives have their own YouTube channels that focus on their respective branches, and they live stream important events that are also seen on news channels in the country.

But for those who don’t have the patience to watch, just wait for the evening newscasts to summarize them all. After all, live news coverage is only for the most informed citizen.

In the end, news coverage will always be a complicated process. But at least there are alternatives to get the necessary facts to the viewer.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

News5 Loses Another Reporter to Duterte’s Staff, Plus Luchi’s Staying

Former News5 reporter Mia Reyes (third from left) will join President Rodrigo Duterte's staff as its assistant secretary for media relations. (Photo credit: Mia Reyes)

Former News5 reporter Mia Reyes (third from left) will join President Rodrigo Duterte’s staff as its assistant secretary for media relations. (Photo credit: Mia Reyes)

The losses continue to pile up for TV5.

Recently, Media Newser Philippines reported that TV5 reporter Mia Reyes will join President Rodrigo Duterte’s staff as the assistant secretary for media relations. Prior to the hiring, Mia was a beat reporter who covered the news within the Malacañang Palace.

Reyes joins Martin Andanar, Cherie Mercado, Ina Zara and Jun Loyola as former News5 talents-turned-Duterte staff members. News5 also lost DJ Sta. Ana, Benjie Felipe and Deah Regacho for various other reasons.

The departure of Mia Reyes is another huge blow to TV5’s embattled news division. With so much losses in the talent front, not to mention the many criticisms that the division has faced, it is clear that News5 is living on borrowed time.

To make matters worse, Media Newser Philippines also reported that News5 chief Luchi Cruz-Valdes decided to stay on amid rumors of her impending departure. Obviously, many were not happy with her decision to remain.

Despite her award-winning reputation in the documentary department, Luchi’s inability to lead News5 to greener pastures puts her in the hot seat more often. While she is an excellent storyteller, her leadership has always been questioned, whether due to News5’s overreliance on sensationalized news, or due to the talent surrounding her.

With sports aficionado Chot Reyes now handling the task of restoring order within TV5, the news division itself is in a dire need of a revamp. From the Tube previously discussed these proposals in a two-part series, but for whatever reason, not even these tips can help TV5 in the long run.

 

Indeed, many will agree that the future of News5 is not very bright. With so many talent leaving in bunches, not to mention the questionable approach in news reporting, how much time does News5 have left to redeem themselves?

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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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humor, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs

More Napoles News and Jokes

The week in news is all about the Pork Barrel, and its whistleblower Janet Napoles. Monday witnessed the Million People March at the Quirino Grandstand, then Wednesday night saw the voluntary surrender of Napoles at Malacanang. The narrative did not end there, however.

On Friday night the court finally approved the transfer of Janet Napoles from the Makati City Jail to the Fort Sto. Domingo facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It was the same complex that housed former president and Manila mayor Joseph Estrada during his plunder case a decade ago. The court approved the move citing security concerns within the Makati City Jail.

Throughout the week all major television networks extensively the issue of Pork Barrel and the surrender of Janet Napoles. Some segments took exception to the issue by presenting it in a light-hearted manner. On the TV5 program T3: Reload, the Tulfo brothers Ben, Erwin and Raffy decided to make fun of the issue with the use of social media, presenting memes and pick-up lines relating to Janet Napoles and the Pork Barrel scam. Then on the ‘Word of the Lourd’ segment by Lourd de Veyra, he presented a photo of Napoles and asked several people to identify the subject, with one mistakenly identifying the subject as the Korean rapper Psy.

Despite the serious nature of the issue, people still found a way to lighten up the mood of the nation by presenting them in a humorous manner. That ability to construct humor amidst the negativity of the situation enabled the Philippines to rank among the top 10 in the happiest countries poll last year. And that humor overcomes all the poverty and hardship that the country experiences these days.

Meanwhile, more news about Janet Napoles’s transfer will be reported over the next few days, so stay tuned.

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