Month: May 2019

Swiping Through the ’10s: 2012

What are your best memories for 2012?

Mostly, about the Mayans but it didn’t destroy the planet.

We remember how Gotye swoons and Carly Rae Jepsen bops out of our ears but most of all, we dance to PSY’s Gangnam Style. In addition, Grumpy Cat was born and we shouted “Ermahgerd!”

We swoon over EXO and One Direction but we bash Chicser. We remember how we put Paula Salvosa (the Amalayer Girl) to shame.

Marvel’s The Avengers trumps The Hunger Games.

Rappler formally launches and is easily accepted as a new means of delivering the news in the age of social media.

For the first time, Chinese New Year becomes a national (special non-working) holiday.

What else happened in 2012?


The Filipino Decides 2019: The Post-Election Wrap

EVERY COUNTRY gets the government it deserves.”

This is a famous quote, apparently attributed by Joseph de Maistre, everyone has heard after the results came in and the Philippines is NO EXCEPTION last week.

Despite joys and inspirations fawning over the local races, everyone knew already what happened over the national count. Unfazed, shocked and enraged.

Come July 22, they will be duly seated in a leased part of the GSIS Building in Pasay City. Soon enough, they will move to their very own world-class edifice in Taguig.

On this note, we will tackle over two sections: the coverage and the agenda.


Our coverage insight were almost right on the nose as we published last May 12.

Both ABS-CBN and GMA have rendered an outstanding competition over augmented reality. Once again, the former does simulcast with S+A but the latter has not done so with GMA News TV (for their last time under VHF channel 11). Amidst the doubts, TV5 finally covered.

When the transparency server were stalled at 0.4% during 8 hours after the poll closing, ABS-CBN seems to make the most of their time by airing their usual primetime teleseryes but GMA stayed on persistently. Both in the South Triangle Duopoly remained overnight while TV5 signed off for a moment until their server is updated once again.

For Media ng Bayan, it was a disappointment that their coverage were resorted to a “talk show” format. Well, what do you expect over a state-owned media consortium that cannot acquire and employ better presentation technology — at par with commercial counterparts — due to procedural red tape?

The Agenda

Now, for that hard part to digest. What’s in store for the incoming (18th) Congress?

  • Primarily, the Constitutional reform. Last week’s election might the last to considered as a midterm and on this running Charter. Unless a finalized form of federal charter will be resolved and presented, there may be some legislators who have obvious self-interests and/or reservations that could object some salient provisions.
  • The other main legislations: the restoration of death penalty, lowering of minimum age of criminal responsibility and the TRABAHO bill (a.k.a. TRAIN 2).
  • Martial Law in Mindanao. With the clear numbers in both houses, the declaration under the said island group are extended every year with a breeze up until 2022.
  • The solid defense of China’s trespassing of our seas and complete, permanent trade-off of its patrimony. It can be a done deal since they have the numbers to ratify a treaty with the adversary.
  • Last but not the least is ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal. This incoming Congress will take on this issue, which will expire come March. Although it’s for the legal ownership, operation and maintenance of telecommunication facilities, the signal of non-renewal might mean that the national media industry should prepare for the instantaneous change of competition.

What about the promises of the People’s Broadcasting Corporation bill (replacing PTV) — as promised on the President Duterte’s maiden State of the Nation address — and IBC’s privatization process? The former may be reintroduced if it failed to passed on the outgoing Congress but the latter is not as it would be answerable by the Presidential Communications Office during the budget interpellation on both Houses. If both did not prosper within the time period, it shouldn’t be surprising at all.


That being said, we carved up on what we chose that we cannot take it back (don’t say we didn’t warn you). That was our endgame and it is not as expected as what was in the movie.

Our results reflect what we are and we have no choice but to embrace them, whether we voted for any of them or not.

The Filipino Decides 2019 is hereby wrapped up.

Regular season begins on June 1 as the Sweeping Through the 2010s continues next week for its third episode. Anyway, article requests can now be entertained.

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The Filipino Decides 2019: The Review of the Campaign and the E-Day Insights

THE SEASON of campaigning — political ads on media and mudslinging in their respective miting de avance — is now behind us. The past three months of such a period and other events within it has intensified further to convince the already divided electorate.

Tomorrow, 61.8 million registered voters will troop to their voting precincts to poll on the judgment of President Rodrigo Duterte’s first half of his entrusted mandate. They are allowed to cast their ballot from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. — an hour more than in 2016.

However, this midterm election could mark a successful “endgame” or the very last if the final, agreeable form of the federal constitution will be passed and will be ratified by a plebiscite.

The Picture on the Broadcasters

For the rest of the world, election day is rather an ordinary day during daytime but as the polls are about to close, it’s a big deal of their broadcasters filled not just analysis but some gimmicks and their unique traditions as counting begins.

Only in the Philippines is when the election coverage in television usually goes on from sign-on on polling day until about midday of the following day without signing off. In radio, the coverage has just begun.

Despite no ban – save boxing, cockfighting and horse races — other sporting events are usually suspended since their eligible players are exercising such a right as citizens on their respective precincts for that particular day.

Unlike presidential election day three years ago, the midterm election day could the post-newscast primetime programming for general entertainment channels to continue like in 2013. Luckily, there are no premiering teleseryes this day but GMA’s Inagaw na Bituin will wrap on the said week.

For this year, due to aggressive competitive nature and the aforementioned voting start time, the start of the coverage will begin at 4:00 a.m. (one hour ahead than the last time), unless stated otherwise.


Commercial broadcasters

ABS-CBN: Halalan 2019

Just before the campaign period, the main channel aired two MMK life stories of two senatorial aspirants — indirectly (whose father is the subject) and directly. This criticized tactic is unsurprising since it was practiced back in 2010. However, they conducted the Harapan series for invited and eager senatorial aspirants (major and minor).

As the largest media conglomerate that spans over cable and radio, election day coverage will be not a problem with the most advanced technology:

  • The main channel will begin their coverage at 5 a.m. just as usual but come noon, they will continue to air It’s Showtime but resumes coverage afterward.
  • S+A will cover normally with the applicable NBA playoffs game and will become Channel 2’s pinch-hitter at noon.
  • For uncut and cerebral coverage, ANC is the key. For the TVPlus users, they have to resort with DZMM Teleradyo.

However, there will always be questionable credibility from persistent critics and haters.

Particularly on the defenders of the President, the winners of this Senatorial election wish for who block their franchise renewal, which is due next March.

In that case, this election coverage will raise a red flag as it could mark their last.

GMA: Eleksyon 2019

The “credible” and “the lesser evil” among the South Triangle Duopoly, this network had their own sole debate on the final Saturday before the campaign period (February 9) but aired a life story of an administration candidate in Magpakailanman just before that. On that day, the host did not narrate the said episode of the weekly anthology drama (as she led the panel) and in return, the character is not present in the debate.

In terms of the digital output, they tapped Internet star Dante Gulapa to disseminate the definitions and the decorum (i.e. dos and the don’ts).

Come Election Day, GMA’s coverage will proceed as usual with newer graphics but they won’t be aired in the Wowowin studio like the last time; they’ll be using Studio 5.

This is also a remarkable moment for GMA News TV as it will be their third and last under Channel 11 after their 14-year lease agreement with Zoe Broadcasting Network (8 years on current branding) before moving to UHF Channel 27.

Like ABS-CBN’s, they will continue what the sister channel will be the pinch hitter when Eat Bulaga airs. What will happen to Wowowin come tomorrow? Will they be not airing like three years ago? Let’s wait and see.

Nonetheless, they will not simulcast.

The 5 Network: Bilang Pilipino 2019

Media enthusiasts and inquisitors already knew that One News will mark its first election coverage this year, but when it comes to the flagship free-to-air channel, [TV] 5, they initially raised doubts if they will materialize and prosper due to their nature as a sports channel.

During the campaign period, the flagship channel initially showed Tol ‘Wag Troll rap battle every Sunday but suddenly replaced with Luchi Cruz-Valdes’ Aplikante during the weeknights.

Thankfully, News5 will have the multi-platform coverage that can analyze on the data; there is a Facebook live stream but when it comes to television, that will be under observation.

CNN Philippines: The Filipino Votes

If you want the straightest news but you don’t have cable, then CNN Philippines is the place to be.

This network initiated the series of the senatorial forum from December to March. Last April 27, they hosted the most-attentive Senatorial debate at the Quadricentennial Pavillion of the University of Santo Tomas (the same venue the sole Vice Presidential debate was held three years ago).

Overall, when it comes to the Election Day coverage, there will be the least of frills — graphically and in between persons — and more to the basic things: intellectuality and seriousness.

Government networks (Hatol ng Bayan 2019)

During the campaign period, PTV did not have their own special programming related to the election campaign (not even reviving the COMELEC Hour) but her sister network, IBC, did with O.O.T.D.: Opisyal of the Day.

Come D-Day, the auxiliary state-owned channel — under recent reformation under Ma’am Kat de Castro — cannot handle the broadcast all by themselves due to the obvious, haunted and inherited financial limitations. Thus, they have to rely on the simulcast of Channel 4 but there will be three 20-minute breaks for Lotto draws throughout the day (11:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m. and at 9:00 p.m.) since selling and drawing on a state-owned lottery is not explicitly illegal under related laws and supporting COMELEC resolutions.

In 2016, unlike commercial networks, they signed off as usual from their broadcast day. It is likely to happen this year.

Denomination-affiliated and regional networks

While mainstream national networks will indubitably reign supreme, denomination-affiliated national networks have their own multi-platform coverages during E-Day (except for INC TV). For one, Eagle Broadcasting Corporation (Net 25, DZEC, et al) will cover as Desisyon ng Bayan 2019.

Regional networks, like CLTV 36 (as Boto Mo, Kinabukasan Mo), will not just focus on the numbers crunched nationally but on their concerned regions.

One more (trivial) thing…

Under the Fair Elections Act, exit polls or projections are NOT ILLEGAL but are NOT COMMON.

If any firm has conducted this, they are not released on time as our clocks aren’t set to the proper standard time. Some areas might declare a “failure of election” that it may be too significant for 12th place finish.

While such a thing isn’t a big deal, the bigger deal is that you have the power tomorrow or you’ll regret that your choice will waste 3 or 6 years of your life that it would never come back… at all.

Vote as if it is your last.

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The Filipino Decides 2019: Tourism Development


It's More Fun in the Philippines

The rebranded “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign logo


DID YOU KNOW that in 2017, the tourism contributes 12.2% of the country’s GDP?

As the new month marks as the month of festivities here in the Philippines, it means that both domestic and foreign tourists will spend their dough.

On this last of the The Filipino Decides‘ under-the-radar thoughts, we will tackle about the future of tourism if our country goes federal.

The present bureaucracy

The Department of Tourism was established in 1973. Alongside its establishment is the foundation of two prominent agencies, the Philippine Tourism Authority and the Philippine Convention Bureau (now, Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation).

In 2009, the PTA becomes the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

Historical heritage is under the Historic Preservation Division of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. An obvious proof is the black markers publicly embedded on those buildings.


Benchmarking with other federal countries

Under the federal setup, two questions would need to be asked:

  1. Will there be a national Department of Tourism, regional or both?
  2. Will there be tourism agencies or boards that are independent from the government?

Before answering the question, we need to learn from other federal countries’ response on tourism:

  • There are no federal-level tourism departments in Canada or in the United States. On the former, it can be formed in the provincial level (e.g. Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec). However, both countries do have tourism agencies (with most  independence) at the subnational level.
  • Australia used to have a Department of Tourism from 1991 to 1996. The function is now under the Department of Foreign Affairs and such ministerial responsibilty is handled by the Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment. The country’s tourism boards are functioned by regions (within the state).
  • In Malaysia, there is Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture as India has the Ministry of Tourism. Other federal ministries/departments of tourism exist in Austria, Brazil, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Pakistan used to have a department but their primary functions were transferred to the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation.

What should be the answer then?

Well, that depends on you. (Let us know in the comments.)


This story could have ended here but there is a rational reason why I choose behind this topic.

My hometown of City of San Fernando, Pampanga has never been so prosperous this decade. Within this decade, we have four new malls (WalterMart, SM Downtown, Vista Mall and SM Telabastagan), two supermarkets (S&R and Shopwise), two privately-owned event centers (Laus and Kingsborough), spanning arcade buildings, rising hotels (one of them is a new hotel that used to be a tile center) and food parks.

While progress seems to be on the right track, the heritage is never forgotten.

On the side of real tangible property, most of them — from churches, the Train Station to the heritage houses — are maintained but few were either demolished or neglected due to legal matters and inactivity.


Case No. 1: PASUDECO


After 9 decades of operation, the buildings of Pampanga Sugar Development Company (PASUDECO) were razed up for Megaworld’s Capital Town but they will preserve its iconic chimneys and set up a museum, as a sign of compensation, dedicated to the sugar mill that was once stood.

Their ambitious project, according to their website, will set to become the “newest Central Business District of the North”:

The existence [of PASUDECO] became a catalyst for the exponential growth of the city and backed by their rich history, culture and heritage, the development of the new patch of urban township will be at the forefront of business and progress as the area enters new phase of growth while preserving their values.

Their expected year of turnover (completion) of this project is due in 2023 (four years from press time).


Case No. 2: Paskuhan Village

Paskuhan Village.JPG

On the other hand, the Paskuhan Village in Jose Abad Santos Avenue (or more known as the Olongapo-Gapan Road) is dilapidated and is no longer accessible to the general public.

Opened in 1990 by then-President Corazon Aquino and then-Pampanga Governor Bren Z. Guiao, it used to be a year-round Christmas village, showcasing the crafts of lantern marking and thus, serving the venue of the Giant Lantern Festival. One salient detail, look into the aerial view and it is shaped as a giant lantern. We don’t call it the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” for no reason.

During the nation’s Centennial Celebrations in 1998, then-First Lady Amelita Ramos decided to recreate the village as part of the Florikultura but a year after, the plants withered and died.

In the turn of the century, the name Paskuhan Village was renamed to Hilaga as a hub of showcase the culture of, as the renamed tin said, Northern Luzon (e.g. Ilocos, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon).

With the Pinatubo eruption in the first year of operation (June 1991), the establishment of two shopping malls across the North Luzon Expressway in 2000s and the development of a new attraction — Skyranch Pampanga — the theme park ran on the loss, mismanaged and utterly neglected and abandoned.

Fernandinos of the previous generation would remember it as a faded memory but those raised in this generation, a trace of it could be remembered or not at all.

With the constant neglect and financial distress, the Commission on Audit taps TIEZA in 2012 to  rehabilitate, privatize or hand over their holding of the facility to the local government.

On December 2014, four SM Group affiliates and Robinsons Land Corporation  — where its respective malls across the expressway divert their lost revenue — engaged in the open bid and Premier Central, one of the SM Group affiliates, won.

This led the City Government to file a counterproposal and Congressman Aurelio Gonzales to investigate the sale. On October 2017, Solicitor General Jose Calida declared it void as recommended by the concerned committee of the House of Representatives for violating the Tourism Act of 2009, which prevents the landmarks of TIEZA to be sold.

Today, the attraction lingers in limbo and nearly losing consciouness of Fernandinos as the City Government’s initiative to preserve the Paskuhan Village and to operate on their own hands persistently remain.

The second case is the obvious reason why federalism could benefit the management of tourism and would solve the Paskuhan paradox.


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Photos courtesy of the Department of Tourism / Ivan Henares / Ramon F. Velasquez