ABS-CBN is broadcasting this Sunday evening a documentary on “TV Patrol”, which is now 25 years old. When they first asked to interview me for the documentary, I was honest with them and said that I was not a regular viewer, but finally agreed because I felt that “TV Patrol” was a significant turning point in our national life, simply by using Filipino.
I did more research to look at all of the television reporting around the country, to better explain this bold claim I just made.
The first television show in the Philippines was in 1953 on DZAQ-TV, Channel 3, the original ABS station. Channel 3 primarily aired US-produced shows at first, but soon added locally produced entertainment shows.
Local TV news began to appear, usually later that night, but they were all in English: “The World Tonight” (which dates back to 1962), “The Big News”, “News at 7”, “NewsWatch” , “Newsbreak. “The competition was intense, for example networks shifting their airtime around the niches of competitors.
Rivals also competed with each other for presenters or news anchors (in Filipino-only English, called advertisers, in the radio era). I grew up listening to Tina Monzon-Palma and the late José Mari Velez but there were many others including Orly Mercado, Tony Seva, Henry Halasan. (Thinking back now, it looks like Tina was a rose among thorns.)
After the proclamation of martial law in 1972, the Marcos government seized the television stations, targeting in particular ABS-CBN because its owners, the Lopez family, were part of the political opposition. Some journalists, including Velez, have been arrested and detained.
The mass media, especially TV stations, exercised self-censorship, producing a rather surreal situation where you could have a huge protest rally, or a bloody battle between government troops and rebels and nothing would show up in it. television news. The “mosquito press” that emerged in the 1980s – including the Inquirer – dared to report on the opposition but was limited to the print media, and, again, was predominantly in English. It was the underground press of the radical left that produced documents in Filipino and other local languages.
After democracy was restored in 1986, the mass media exploded into a frenzy, switching to unrestricted reporting. The Lopez family were able to recover ABS-CBN, which included radio and television stations. “The World Tonight” was relaunched with Angelo Castro Jr. and Loren Legarda. After Legarda became a Senator, Tina Monzon-Palma, who was previously with “GMA Headline News”, moved on to ABS-CBN – and continues to provide an almost heartwarming presence and sense of continuity over the years.
“TV Patrol” premiered on March 2, 1987, at 6:30 p.m. to be exact. It’s easy to imagine his first ‘announcer’ Noli de Castro greeting listeners with his drawling accent, ‘Magandang gabi, bayan’, which would later become the name of his own news magazine. The newscast was entirely in Filipino, with news and features including celebrity gossip and sports. The late Ernie Baron made the weather forecast and then embarked on science reporting and his own radio programs peddling all kinds of merchandise.
“TV Patrol” had many main presenters, male and female: Frankie Evangelista, Korina Sanchez, Ted Failon, Karen Davila, Ces Oreña-Drilon, among others. There are jokes that the most powerful political party in the Philippines is ABS-CBN due to the number of former presenters who have gone on to become senior government officials.
The use of Filipino spread, rivaling GMA using taglish in their shows and eventually moving to an all-Filipino newscast in 1997 with Mike Enriquez on “GMA Network News”. His “Thank you for trusting GMA” to end the news became “Marami pong salamat sa inyong pagtitiwala sa GMA”. If memory serves, however, it first used “pagtiwala” until it was corrected by the Tagalog grammar keepers who pointed out that it should be “pagtitiwala”.
Class and language
“TV Patrol”, and the mass media in general, shape and are shaped by society. The 35-year delay in the appearance of Filipino news broadcasts reflected a class divide. Television has been a luxury item for Filipinos for many years. Professor Crispin Maslog, in a report on the state of the pre-martial mass media, cited a 1966 Gallup survey which found that only 4 percent of Filipino households had a TV at that time. In the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey, the number of televisions in households had risen to 71 percent, even surpassing radio possession, which was 65 percent.
The division of classes was also a linguistic division. English remained the language of the elite, while local languages were patronized as “vernacular,” used by the poor and the uneducated. So even when Filipino shows started appearing on television as early as the 1950s, news broadcasts were still in English, reflecting the idea that more “serious” shows like the news would not click with the masses. . Even today, Filipino news broadcasts still reflect these attitudes, with the broadcasts being very similar to the tabloids printed in the local language, emphasizing crime, cleavage, and celebrities (and preferably celebrities committing crimes against it). neckline, or other combinations thereof).
Despite these shortcomings, “TV Patrol” and other Filipino news broadcasts contribute to national life, connecting Filipinos not only across the archipelago but across national borders, with major networks now operating cable networks across the country. -sea and the Internet to provide up-to-the-minute information in vivid color. , full of pomp and glory at times, and at other times Gloria and bloody. Sometimes upon returning from a trip overseas I found myself sitting next to a Filipino who may have been away for several years but who is more up to date with news in the Philippines than I am, especially around from show biz, courtesy of “TV Patrol” watched on cable.
The use of Filipino in television news allowed Filipino, as the national language, to come of age. It is telling that the President is delivering his State of the Nation address, televised live, in Filipino, and those who cannot follow in Filipino now have to rely on delayed English news reports or newspapers, or search for an English translation of the speech. on gov.ph, the government website.
I reiterate my concern that Filipino news shows have a stronger tendency than English shows to sensationalize, focus on the trivial and gossip, and encourage a culture of negativity and gossip.
Filipinos deserve more. Randy David showed many years ago through his “Public Forum” talk show that you can have serious TV talk shows, conducted in Filipino and reaching different grades. I see attempts to put serious commentary in Filipino TV news and hope that will continue. In fact, I will argue that Filipinos are expanding the potential of both serious and entertaining mass media, bringing people together for common causes.
* * *
E-mail: [email protected]
To subscribe to REQUEST MORE to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download from 4 a.m. and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.