Friday, January 01, 2010

Free Again

On February 24, 1986, MBS Channel 4 went off the air during a live news conference in Malacañang and during an exchange between Marcos and then Chief of Staff General Fabian Ver. The network was eventually taken over by rebel forces and started broadcasting for the Filipino people.

When the time came, it was television that first broke the news to the Filipino nation: It was all over. Freedom was back.

Jake Almeda Lopez, former general manager of ABS-CBN, took over the station and cajoled the MBS engineers to put it back on the air.

Director Johnny Manahan assembled a panel composed of June Keithley, Orly Punzalan, Noel Trinidad, and Subas Herrero, and one by one, political figures trooped to the station to say a few words on cam…. The news took a circuitous route, but it arrived. For visual support, director Mitos Villareal hired a helicopter and took shots of the million-strong crowd at Edsa. (Pinoy, 120)

The military revolt backed by civilians ended the twenty-year reign of dictatorship. It led to the restoration of the democratic institutions in the country, including the television stations that were seized when Martial Law was declared. Truly, “some of the most dramatic events that surrounded Edsa Revolution happened in and around TV studios…” (Pinoy, 123)

After the Edsa Revolution, Eugenio Lopez Jr. returned from exile in the United States.

Comeback stories

On September 14, 1986, amid difficulties with the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which initially refused to return the franchise of Channel 2 to its original owners, and problems of mortgaged equipment, ABS-CBN Channel 2 made a comeback and resumed broadcasting, after fourteen years of forced leave.

In 1988, PTV Channel 4, then MBS, was launched as “The People’s Station.” Today, it is now known as the NBN.

The Edsa Revolution paved the way for the reopening of ABC. On February 21, 1992, ABC Channel 5 reopened with a new multi-million-peso studio complex in Novaliches.

After the historic EDSA revolution, IBC-13 became one of the media houses that were sequestered by the government. Executive Order No. 11 was signed by former President Corazon Aquino and created the Board of Administration that governed the affairs of the Channel. To this date, there had been seven Board of Administrators that changed hands, until the Supreme Court finally ruled on the compromise agreement between the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and Mr. Roberto S. Benedicto, the latter ceding Broadcast City which houses IBC-13 and RPN-9 to the government. Today, IBC-13 operates like all other private corporations with a board of directors of its own. (KBP, 165)

On April 19, 1998, ZOE TV 11 of ZOE Broadcasting Network, Inc., owned by born-again evangelist Eddie Villanueva, was officially launched.

Television in the Philippines had indeed gone a long way. More than fifty years ago, television was just one of the appliances in a Filipino home, today, it is considered as the most pervasive and influential instrument of mass communication in the Philippines.