With Several Regional TV Stations Gone, Community Press Has Big Shoes to Fill

2008. Fresh out of college, I applied in ABS-CBN Central Visayas, and got hired as a Segment Producer of MagTV Na!, a magazine show featuring stories on people, places and local trends.

It was my first entry to the unpredictable and challenging world of TV Production. As my first job, it was my first time to write scripts in Cebuano, and dove into this fast-paced environment of airing and deadlines.

It was tough being a newbie, but I was fortunate to work with some of the most passionate and hardworking individuals I know who served as the backbone of this local industry.

Putting up a weekly show was never about racking up ratings but it was ALWAYS about service and empowerment. At that time, MagTV Na!, was a means to promote stories of perseverance of our local entrepreneurs, heritage preservation, tourism and culture, building a sense of community, a nuance national shows can never capture.

I could never forget our stories on the enterprising women of Barangay Luz, parol makers of Sawang Calero, and local legends like Inday Titang, the “Keeper of the Sinulog Beat.”

These local shows from the Regions matter to Bicolanos, Ilokanos, Cebuanos, Davaoeños, and a lot more groups, capturing their unique context, dynamics, and issues that directly affects them. Kaya ibang-iba ang connection nito sa viewers. It feels like home.

I believe the ABS-CBN Regional TV stations all over the Philippines spurred development from the countryside, and in some instances, became the only source of information of families in the remote coastal and mountain communities.

It provided jobs to thousands, giving journalists, creatives, media men and women, an avenue to do public service right in their hometowns.

They are the hosts, newscasters and storytellers who capitalize on their local knowledge and speak the language of the people. I have so much respect for them.

There is so much pain and sadness I couldn’t describe knowing that these regional stations and programs will cease operations, signing off one by one.

Yes, there is still GMA Regional Programs and community radio and newspapers, but there is so much power in being able to reach more, do more, and serve more.

Sa sobrang dami ng problema sa iba’t ibang sulok ng Pilipinas, bakit ngayon pa tayo mag-iiwanan sa panahon na pinakakailangan tayong magka-isa?

I write this in honor of the people who dedicated their entire lives to their jobs in the media industry, to my MagTV Na! family who first welcomed me as a Kapamilya, to the more than 11,000 ABS-CBN employees who don’t deserve such loss and suffering.

There are no words to describe this injustice. We will stand with you.

About the Author:

A former Kapamilya and Kapuso news producer, Andrea Pineda is now a teacher and development advocate inspired to continue telling stories of marginalized learners.

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