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

News5 a Non-Factor in Live House, Senate Hearings Last Week

Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday's Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday’s Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

It was a busy three days for the Philippines’ top news outfits.

On September 20 and 21, the House of Representative conducted a nine-to-ten hour hearing regarding the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons. Then on September 22, the Senate conducted two hearings, one involving the use of emergency powers to combat traffic, and the other the continuation of the hearings on extrajudicial killings.

In between, President Rodrigo Duterte appeared on live television to address his own concerns regarding the presence of American troops in Mindanao, and the United Nations’ continued intervention in his war against drugs. The President gave his speech in front of the country’s hard-working soldiers in Mindanao.

Then there is the urgent coverage of an apparent hijack inside a Saudia Airlines place at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which turned out to be a false alarm. Finally, a press conference involving Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino was also aired live.

In those three days, the usual suspects were there to cover them all: the ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo, CNN Philippines, and the government-owned PTV-4. Surprisingly, the oft-criticized GMA News TV, infamous for their apparent unwillingness to cover various live events, joined in the act as well, alongside DZBB.

The same cannot be said for News5, however. Although they managed to broadcast the live feed of the said events online, TV coverage proved to be mostly non-existent.

Though AksyonTV, now more known for sports coverage than news, covered the first day of the NBP probe, they failed to do so on the second day, in large part to their own sports programming. The network also failed to air the live coverage of the two Senate hearings as well, also for the love of sports.

Which leads to the worst culprit of them all: Radyo5 92.3 News FM. While a majority of the AM radio stations covered the three-day live-a-thon, Radyo5 chose to air their regular programming instead of following the action (Wednesday’s events was excusable because of the PBA).

This act of reprehensible proportions only served to add insult to injury to News5. If losing some of their top personalities is not enough, what more is their increasing unwillingness to cover important live events as it happens.

As it stands now, it is clear that the ship TV5 is steering continues to sink further and further. There is nothing more to say about this, other than the hope that they can start over anew.

To Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Gladys Lana-Lucas, perhaps it’s time for an explanation. This has gone too far, and Kapatid followers deserve better than this.

The House and Senate hearings are expected to continue this week. Still, it remains to be seen whether or not News5 can finally commit themselves to a multi-platform broadcast of these events.

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entertainment, Philippines, television

ABS-CBN, GMA Cancel Each Other’s No. 1 Claims

Once again, ABS-CBN and GMA one-up each other when it comes to television ratings.

For the month of January, both stations staked their own claims as the No. 1 television network in the country. Based on Kantar’s figures, ABS-CBN earned a 42% share over GMA’s 36%, while Nielsen’s figures say that GMA attained a 35% over ABS-CBN’s 33%.

While ABS-CBN claimed to have won the ratings battle in Balance Luzon (45% over GMA’s 36%), Visayas (56% over GMA’s 26%) and Mindanao (48% over GMA’s 31%), GMA’s regional figures showed that the station only won in Urban Luzon (39% over ABS-CBN’s 29%) and Mega Manila (41% over ABS-CBN’s 26%). GMA failed to report on the figures for Visayas and Mindanao because both areas remain a weak point for the network.

On the other hand, ABS-CBN did not report on the figures for the morning and afternoon blocks because of the network’s low ratings in both categories. ABS-CBN claimed victory in the primetime block, while in a separate statement, GMA won in the morning, afternoon and primetime blocks.

As it has been the case for the past several years, the one-upmanship between the two stations continue to be a subject of debate among television fans. But the truth is, even with their claims as the No. 1 station, that doesn’t mean they are better than the other, especially when facilities, revenue, talent and programming quality are considered.

That said, expect the game of wits between ABS-CBN and GMA to continue. At the end of the day, only one can lay claim to being the undisputed No. 1 station in the country.

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country, news, Philippines, politics

In 100 Words: The Zamboanga Standoff

While the issue of Pork Barrel and Janet Napoles raged on, a battle between the Philippine government and the rebels led by the Moro National Liberation Front got underway. During the ongoing standoff in Zamboanga, six people were killed while hundred were hostaged by the rebel groups. The MNLF’s mission was clear: they are calling for an independent Mindanao.

The attack by the rebel groups only added drama to the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an effort which had been stalled for decades. With the warfare not ending soon, when will Mindanao finally achieve true peace? Unless the fighting stops, the Mindanao peace situation will only get worse.

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