By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan
(Life after Yolanda, Log 5)
TACLOBAN CITY–How do journalists cover the news when they themselves were directly affected by it?
Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) did not spare local media outlets in Eastern Visayas. The worst hit were radio stations whose announcers were on the air as the typhoon hit.
For the news team of ABS-CBN’s regional station in Tacloban City, the biggest story they covered cost them their homes and nearly them and their families’ lives.
The storm surge almost reached the studios and offices of ABS-CBN Tacloban at the fourth floor of a building in downtown Tacloban. Strong winds destroyed their satellite receiver and damaged the equipment at ABS-CBN’s repeater station atop nearby Mount Naga-naga.
Reporters like Ranulfo Docdocan and Sharon Evite along with their teams faced the brunt of the storm in landfall areas like Guian, Eastern Samar.
Cut off from communication for days, some of them were badly injured and could not easily travel for help since their vehicles were also wrecked.
The station’s flagship program, TV Patrol Tacloban, had to go on hiatus. Hardly anyone in town could watch TV anyways. And as the station’s facilities were restored, it was time for the journalists to take care of themselves and their families first.
But six weeks after the storm, the region’s leading TV newscast returned to the airwaves.
The week before December 23, 2013 had the local ABS-CBN reporters scrambling to cover visiting dignitaries and memorial activities in and out of Tacloban using their own or borrowed motorcycles to compensate for their sole remaining crew cab.
The day itself had little fanfare. They hardly had time to put up special stories and were forced to tape the entire episode because they could not yet air live.
But going back on the air means much to them, since the program has taken on a renewed purpose after Yolanda.
The above video details the challenges of returning TVP Tacloban to the air, and is a tribute to the men and women of ABS-CBN Tacloban who, like their fellow Waraynons, emerged from the storm determined to stand strong once more.
Video produced and edited by: Anjo Bagaoisan
Shot by: Jong De Guzman and Jei-Ar Lagoc