MANILA — From early evening date viewing to on-demand digital news, “TV Patrol” has been going where its viewers are for 35 years now, making it one of the most enduring programs in the world. Philippine television.
After its premiere at 6 p.m. on March 2, 1987 on the new Channel 2, “TV Patrol” gave Filipinos a front row seat for nearly 4 decades of history across various media platforms.
With a name taken from the network’s longtime “Radyo Patrol”, “TV Patrol” moved away from the formal broadsheet format that had characterized newscasts until then. Instead, it has tried to resemble the more ordinary Filipino media: the tabloids and the radio.
The program is delivered in the language of the masses, Filipino, and sometimes even in its colloquial variant.
It combined “eyewitness news” and “action news”, emphasizing actual video and on-the-spot reporting, along with a dose of human interest and community news.
Alongside major events of the post-EDSA years, “TV Patrol” featured stories dealing with the daily lives of the masses and aired reports on crime, commodity prices, weather, showbiz and sports.
The creators of the newscast — then-president Freddie Garcia, chief executive Rolly Cruz and news director Angelo Castro Jr. — felt it was time to give audiences the news they wanted and needed after decades of government-controlled news.
Before the end of 1987, the ratings proved them right. The hour-long “TV Patrol” captured more than half of the audience and helped ABS-CBN take the top spot in TV channels.
“TV Patrol” also attracted audiences with its magazine-like content. There was part of the audience complaints, “Hoy, Gising!”; a segment devoted to the discussion of current topics, “Pulso”; and articles on oddities and human-interest, “Balitang K.”
He pioneered a public service segment dubbed “Lingkod Bayan” whose program not only reported on natural disasters, but also solicited help on behalf of citizens.
Viewers were captivated by the chemistry of the original anchors: Noli De Castro, Mel Tiangco, Frankie “Ka Kiko” Evangelista and Angelique Lazo.
But it was the reporting from that tumultuous first decade that helped many Filipinos understand the era – whether it was Charie Villa rushing to Manila by plane to report on the Camp Cawa-Cawa siege in Zamboanga, Jing Magsaysay and d others on the ground around Mount Pinatubo for weeks as it erupted, or Pia Hontiveros tying herself to a mast outside PAGASA to show the strength of Typhoon Rosing.
Until the 1990s, it was “TV Patrol” and not a soap opera or variety show that was the number 1 show on Philippine television, an anomaly even by foreign standards. A foreign documentarian described the show’s audience as “numbers that program managers anywhere in the world would kill for”.
Struggling to hold onto his lead, adjustments were made and the newscast was cut to 30 minutes in 1996, leaving only “Kabayan” Noli De Castro at the helm.
The “TV Patrol” segments spawned their own top-notch shows, among them De Castro’s Investigative Group Special Reports and Marc Logan’s light news that served as a respite from serious news.
De Castro’s eventual bid for the Senate and vice president brought new blood to the anchor office. Korina Sanchez, Henry Omaga-Diaz, Aljo Bendijo, Julius Babao, Ted Failon and Karen Davila became TV Patrol presenters over the next decade.
Beginning with “TV Patrol Cebu” in 1988, provincial stations of the ABS-CBN regional network group from Luzon to Mindanao have created up to a dozen “TV Patrol” newscasts in the local language.
The newscast would later cross borders and become one of the main sources of news for Filipinos around the world through The Filipino Channel or TFC.
In 2004, “TV Patrol” had a weekend edition that aired stories beyond weekdays for continuous coverage of news such as President Gloria Arroyo’s declaration of a state of emergency, the death of former President Corazon Aquino and the onslaught of typhoons Ondoy and Sendong. .
CREATE A COMMUNITY OF “PATROLLERS”
As the public became aware of the popularity of cell phones and social media, viewers became more involved and began to participate in public service and reporting.
Along with the newscast’s relaunch as “TV Patrol World” in 2004, “Citizen Patrol”, a popular version of the original “Hoy, Gising!” where viewers themselves tell stories – and take action – on issues in their community.
The 2007 and 2010 elections would bring more citizen reporting through the “Boto Mo, iPatrol Mo” which later became “Bayan Mo, I-Patrol Mo” or BMPM and these reports would be broadcast regularly on “TV Patrol”.
Thanks to footage sent anonymously to the BMPM in 2009, ABS-CBN News was able to catch wind of what would be known as the Maguindanao or Ampatuan massacre, considered the deadliest event for journalists in history.
The return and reunion of the 3 big “TV Patrol” presenters – De Castro, Sanchez and Failon – at the end of 2010 included an SMS opinion poll recalling the former “Pulso” that ran throughout the program and ended with banter among the anchors.
Earlier that year, “TV Patrol” officially entered the digital space by launching its Facebook and Twitter pages. These would be among the biggest news publishers years later.
He also opened his own website which broadcast a live stream for viewers in the Philippines along with a chat room, years before live streaming and commentary became a social media staple.
These forays helped form communities among those who wanted to consume “TV Patrol” online and those who wanted to play a role in the news they watched.
Whether it was “TVPeeps” or “Bayan Patrollers”, it was clear that they were no longer the passive viewers that the newscast primarily appealed to.
JUDGMENT AND NEW CHAPTER
When ABS-CBN’s free-to-air channel was forced to shut down on May 5, 2020, De Castro’s closing statement on TV Patrol would be the last live words heard by the public on Channel 2 before he signed on. It was written by pioneering TV Patrol production assistant and now head of integrated news, Ging Reyes.
It was not the last of “TV Patrol”.
Two days after the shutdown, the newscast was back – on the ANC and TeleRadyo news channels, the TFC global platform, and broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube.
He was back on free television via the A2Z channel on January 3, 2022.
De Castro, a mainstay for 25 years, bid farewell in October 2021 to run for the Senate. But he didn’t pursue his run and instead returned to his first love, radio.
The current crop of “TV Patrol” anchors includes Henry Omaga-Diaz, Bernadette Sembrano and Karen Davila. They are joined by Gretchen Fullido, Boyet Gonzales, Winnie Cordero and Migs Bustos for the special segments. Resident meteorologist Ariel Rojas reports the weather.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted adjustments in news gathering and reporting, once again providing another milestone in the evolution of “TV Patrol.”
Reporters Anjo Bagaoisan and Jekki Pascual awaiting their live reports via Zoom on TeleRadyo. Photo courtesy Anjo Bagaoisan
News crews like Bianca Dava’s don full personal protective equipment (PPE) to film and interview inside hospitals such as Manila’s Fabella Hospital, where many mothers come to give birth. Photo by Melchor Zarate
ABS-CBN cameraman Melchor Zarate and his assistant Joseph Desacula walked through the flood to cover the aftermath of Typhoon Maring in Luna, La Union, October 2021. Photo by Bianca Dava
Teammates cling to reporter Dennis Datu as he gives a live update for TeleRadyo amid heavy rains and high winds from Typhoon Quinta in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, October 2020. Screenshot of ABS-CBN
Report by correspondent Ina Remina during the filing of candidacy certificates at the Sofitel Plaza hotel in Pasay City, October 2021. Photo by Johnson Manabat
Journalist Jacque Manabat prepares to go live for TV Patrol with her digital broadcast team in Quezon City, June 2021. Photo by Marlon Sayson
ABS-CBN correspondent Jorge Cariño interviews a witness at the site of the C-130 plane crash in Sulu in July 2021. Photo by Mac Tataro
Interviews with journalist Raya Capulong at Dolomite Beach in Manila Bay, October 2021. Photo by Jay Echano
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