news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Mike Enriquez to Take Indefinite Medical Leave from GMA News Programs

“Excuse me po!”

One of Mike Enriquez’s signature catchphrases has taken a whole new meaning Wednesday night. The veteran GMA News personality revealed on ’24 Oras’ that he is under an indefinite medical leave due to a kidney disease and an incoming heart bypass operation next month.

Here is Mike’s full statement regarding his current condition.

“I am issuing this statement in response to a growing number of inquiries regarding my prolonged absence from the radio and television programs that I host on GMA.

I am currently on medical leave. I am being treated for kidney disease and I am scheduled to undergo a heart bypass operation in mid-September. My doctors have told me that two to four weeks after my surgery, I will be able to return to my normal duties. In the meantime, it is best that I rest and avoid stress to avoid any medical emergency before my bypass. While I am not yet back on the air, I continue to perform my functions as president of RGMA Network Inc. and as Consultant for Radio of GMA Network Inc.

I thank everyone for their expressions of support and wishes for good health, and most specially for their prayers. My doctors are good and caring and God is great!

I will be back!”

Mike has been absent from his radio and television shows since last July which prompted questions from the audience regarding his whereabouts. In the meantime, substitutes such as Joel Reyes Zobel, Ivan Mayrina and Arnold Clavio have replaced him temporarily on ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’, ‘Sino?’, ’24 Oras’ and ‘Imbestigador’ respectively.

A former disc jockey (his on-air name was Baby Michael), Mike Enriquez has been one of the key figures of GMA News since the late 1990s. He and rival ABS-CBN News anchor Noli de Castro are considered the faces of early morning radio and television primetime news in the Philippines.

Mike is also the self-proclaimed ‘Sumbungan ng Bayan’ ever since ‘Imbestigador’ was launched in 2000. And as mentioned earlier in his statement, Mike is also at the helm of RGMA Network, supervising the operations of Super Radyo AM and Barangay FM radio stations in the country.

From the Tube would like to wish Mike Enriquez a full and speedy recovery. Get well soon.

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news, Philippines, television

A Look Back at News Coverage of the Resorts World Manila Attack

Friday’s incident at Resorts World Manila was headline news for journalists throughout the country. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN News)

Tragedy strikes on the first Friday of June.

On June 2, 2017, gunshots and fire broke out at the Resorts World Manila in Pasay City. When it was all said and done, 37 people were found dead through suffocation, and the gunman, later identified as former Department of Finance employee Jessie Carlos, shot and immolated himself to death.

Here is how the country’s major news outfits fare with the coverage of the incident.

ABS-CBN News Channel and DZMM TeleRadyo

The burden of ABS-CBN News’ coverage was shared between DZMM TeleRadyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel. Both networks went on breaking news mode the moment the attack at Resorts World Manila struck.

ANC and DZMM continued to provide updates of the tragedy over the next 24 hours, with the former somehow eschewing its regular programs in favor of the generic ‘ANC Live’ brand beginning at 11:30 a.m. DZMM continued to air its regular programs but on occasion it gave way to special coverage of the said incident.

GMA News TV

GMA News TV’s coverage began through its simulcast of DZBB shows ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’, ‘Sino?’ and ‘Dobol A sa Dobol B’. Their marathon continued through ‘News to Go’ and ‘Balitanghali’.

The network essentially preempted all regular programming in favor of TV shopping blocks for much of the afternoon. In between, newscasts such as ‘Quick Response Team’, ‘Balita Pilipinas’ and ‘State of the Nation’ continued to update on the situation.

CNN Philippines

While CNN Philippines is a 24/7 station (at least for cable and satellite subscribers), the network’s coverage at Resorts World Manila did not begin until 6:00 a.m. once ‘New Day’ kicked in. From that point on, CNN Philippines went on three different phases.

First, the network’s early morning coverage was aired in English, followed by a Filipino language marathon of the incident during the late morning through early afternoon. After that, English language coverage resumed all the way till the deep part of the evening, with some regular programming in between.

News5

Unfortunately, Luchi Cruz-Valdes’ outfit failed to deliver when it mattered most. Although Radyo5 92.3 FM (and by extension AksyonTV) provided some breaking news on the Resorts World Manila tragedy, the networks continued to air regular programming as if nothing had happened.

Even the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts on TV5 had a bad outing as well. Considering that the newscasts only have at least an hour of airtime (not to mention Raffy Tulfo’s penchant to do some extracurricular activities not related to news), it is clear that LCV and company have too little to offer with a meager cast and limited time.

The next two days saw further updates of the Resorts World Manila tragedy, but other than that, it was all back to normal programming. Additional press conferences at the Resorts World Manila, including the revelation of the gunman’s name, were a few highlights of the weekend.

Overall, it was a field day for major news networks in the country. But while Ging Reyes, Marissa Flores and Armie Jarin-Bennett have done a pretty good job putting all the work in dealing with the Resorts World Manila tragedy, the same cannot be said for Luchi Cruz-Valdes, and it’s a shame.

When tragedy strikes, somebody must take action. And in times like this, news networks and other related organizations should be first on the scene to deliver the news and bring up-to-date reports to everyone.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, radio, television

GMA to Revive Dobol B sa News TV Block This April

A new (or old) program block is set to return to GMA News TV.

It was announced that the ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ block will be revived on the network this coming April. The teaser below shows hosts Mike Enriquez (of ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’), Arnold Clavio and Ali Sotto (of ‘Dobol A sa Dobol B’) talking about their impending return to the small screen via GMA News TV.

Initially launched on February 28, 2011, ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ is essentially a simulcast of early morning programs from Super Radyo DZBB 594. The first iteration of the block consists of the following programs:

  • Saksi sa Dobol B (hosted by Mike Enriquez)
  • Super Balita sa Umaga Nationwide (anchored by Mike Enriquez and Joel Reyes Zobel)
  • One on One with Igan (hosted by Arnold Clavio and Lala Roque)

The block ran from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on weekdays and it competed against DZMM TeleRadyo shows ‘Kabayan’, ‘Radyo Patrol Balita Alas-Siyete’ and ‘Failon Ngayon sa DZMM’. However, the block had its flaws, the most notable of which are the ill-timed placing of taped news reports during commercial breaks and product advisories.

GMA News TV’s Teleradyo-like experiment lasted until September 7, 2012, when it was cancelled due to low ratings. After that, with the exception of a short-lived revival of ‘Kape at Balita’, News TV’s 6:00-9:00 a.m. slot was given to reruns of GMA Public Affairs shows, classic action movies, Koreanovelas, TV shopping blocks, and even the teleserye ‘Amaya’.

The revival of ‘Dobol B sa News TV’ should give viewers another reason to believe in News TV. While the network’s quality of programming is still questionable, their recent live coverage of high-profile Senate and House hearings is a sign that the channel is improving and that a return to form is imminent.

Still, even with the return of DZBB programs to News TV, how long can this latest experiment last? One can only hope that the simulcast will be the first step towards News TV’s true transformation into a legitimate news channel without any of the extracurricular activities present in them.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

1995 Flashback: Saksi at 20

‘Saksi’ is now on its 20th year, which is by far the second longest among active free TV newscasts in the country. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

It has been over 20 years since ‘Saksi’ premiered on GMA.

These days, the second longest-running active free TV newscast on Philippine television (behind ‘TV Patrol’) is taking its act on late-nights. But it hasn’t always been that way.

At the time ‘Saksi’ (then known as ‘Saksi: GMA Headline Balita’) premiered on October 2, 1995, it was only a 15-minute early evening newscast, which pales in comparison to rival ‘TV Patrol”s running time of nearly an hour. Soon after, it expanded to 30, then to 45 minutes, and it remained that way until it was moved to late nights in mid-2002.

The early years of ‘Saksi’ centered on one man: Mike Enriquez. The former DJ-turned-newscaster became an instrumental figure in the rise of ‘Saksi’, even as he was paired with different co-anchors; namely, Karen Davila, Mel Tiangco and Vicky Morales.

Mike became so attached with ‘Saksi’ that he was given his own radio program: ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’. The now 15-year-old show carried over some of ‘Saksi”s mannerisms, including the iconic catchphrase ‘pasok’ whenever Mr. Saksi himself introduces a reporter on location.

In 2002, ‘Saksi’ moved to its current position as a late-night newscast. Mike Enriquez and then co-anchor Vicky Morales also moved along, but in 2004, Mike rejoined Mel Tiangco (then-anchor of ‘Frontpage’) in the early evening slot, and instead of ‘Saksi’ returning to early evenings as everyone thought, GMA created a new newscast: ’24 Oras’.

As a result, GMA decided to pick a new male anchor, and in came ‘Unang Hirit’ co-host Arnold Clavio (popularly known as ‘Igan’). ‘Saksi”s new moniker became ‘Liga ng Katotohanan’, and for over a decade, the newscast centered around Igan and Vicky, along with GMA’s lineup of veteran journalists.

In late 2014, Vicky Morales joined ’24 Oras’ as its third co-anchor (reuniting with Mike Enriquez and Mel Tiangco), and she was replaced by ’24 Oras Weekend’ anchor Pia Arcangel. Currently, ‘Saksi’ is in its 13th year as a late-night newscast, which is longer than any other late-night newscasts today.

After 20 years, ‘Saksi’ continues to deliver hard-hitting and fast-paced news every night. The newscast may be airing on late nights now, but they are still as good as it gets.

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action, comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

GMA News TV Needs to Get Rid of the Movies

If there is one thing to describe about GMA News TV, it’s the fact that they earned a reputation for being the most cluttered of the four major news networks in the country. And airing movies, Filipino or foreign, only add insult to injury.

This week, GMA News TV brought back its much maligned ‘Takilya Blockbusters’ movie block, featuring classic films. This time around, the movie block aired starting at 6:00 a.m., an uncharacteristic choice of hour for movies on free TV.

Honestly, it is a bad decision by News TV to air movies at 6:00 a.m. People who usually wake up at this hour always begin their day by watching the news, and for News TV to air movies in the early morning, it is a slap to the face for the network that GMA always claims to be the ‘no. 1 news network in the country’.

What made it worse is that News TV already has a poor history of replacing and replaying shows at 6:00 a.m. They attempted a hook-up with Super Radyo DZBB 594 for ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’, followed by a morning show in ‘Kape at Balita’, before making a decision to simply replay classic documentary programs. They could have simulcast ‘Unang Hirit’ in a similar way that rivals ABS-CBN News Channel and AksyonTV simulcast their VHF channel’s morning programs, but since GMA 7 is also a VHF channel, News TV wanted no part of simulcasting GMA’s morning program.

GMA News TV needs to stop airing these movies. They do not deserve to air on a news channel like News TV, and are more applicable to specialized channels like ABS-CBN Sports + Action. News TV needs to go back to what they do best: news reporting and public affairs programming, which is what their rivals are doing.

But with the way things are going, I doubt if News TV will ever eschew these movie blocks. After all, they have been suffering from an identity crisis, as they aired not only movies, but also classic programs from predecessor QTV. And as they continue to press on by making questionable programming decisions, it may just be a matter of time before GMA executives finally pull the plug on News TV.

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Cancellation of Kape at Balita on GMA News TV

GMA News TV’s ‘Kape at Balita’ aired its final episode on August 16, 2013, finishing its 10-month run.

From August 19 onwards, many viewers of GMA News TV noticed a change in the early morning timeslot. Instead of the early morning newscast ‘Kape at Balita‘, the said network have been airing repeats of documentaries such as ‘Hamon ng Kalikasan’ and ‘Misteryo‘. No explanation was given regarding the cancellation.

The second incarnation of ‘Kape at Balita’ started to air on October 22, 2012 as an alternative program to the big networks’ morning shows such as ‘Umagang Kay Ganda‘, ‘Good Morning Club‘, and ‘Unang Hirit‘. The program’s basic fare featured mostly current news events, spiced up with commentaries and interviews from various sources. In short, ‘Kape at Balita’ was more akin to the morning news and commentary shows on radio such as ‘Kabayan: Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan’ and ‘Saksi sa Dobol B‘.

This was GMA News TV’s second attempt at a morning show. Previous to that they aired a simulcast of DZBB‘s ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’, before giving way to ‘Kape at Balita’. Morning shows on television were usually the most difficult and expensive to produce, and with the domination of the morning shows on the big networks, the others struggled to keep pace. One example is Studio 23‘s defunct morning show ‘Breakfast’, which struggled with viewership because the format is more akin to middle and upper class viewers.

These days both ABS-CBN and TV5 simulcast their morning shows on their sister news networks. ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ is also seen on the all-English cable network ABS-CBN News Channel, while ‘Good Morning Club’ is simulcast on the UHF AksyonTV. GMA would have loved to do the same thing with ‘Unang Hirit’, but since their sister network GMA News TV is also a VHF channel, it is very unlikely.

At the moment it is unclear whether or not GMA News TV will produce another morning show. For now, they revert back to airing past documentaries, something the network will never want to do after all my criticisms against the network.

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