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.
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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