ABS-CBN gets 5 nominations at 2014 New York Festivals

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(First published on ABS-CBNnews.com as “5 ABS-CBN entries at New York Festivals”)

Graphic design for "Agosto Beinte Uno" and ABS-CBN CCM's "Sprout" plug.

Graphic design for “Agosto Beinte Uno” and ABS-CBN CCM’s “Sprout” plug.

(UPDATED) Five television entries from ABS-CBN are vying for medals among the “World’s Best” as finalists in the 2014 New York Festivals (NYF) International Television and Film Awards.

Leading the pack are programs by the network’s Integrated News division.

The investigative documentary “Agosto Beinte Uno: Ang Pagpatay Kay Ninoy Aquino” by ABS-CBN Docu Central earned two nominations in separate categories.

The Jaime Fabregas-narrated special, which revisited the still-unsolved Aquino assassination case and the people involved in time for the 30th anniversary of the shooting, is a contender for the Biography/Profiles category.

Last year, the full-length profile of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile entitled “Johnny” won the ABS-CBN documentary team a Silver World Medal in the same category.

“Agosto Beinte Uno” was also recognized for its opening billboard and graphic design, which was produced by The Acid House for ABS-CBN.

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ABS-CBN reaps most trophies at 10th USTv awards

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(This is an updated version of an article first published on ABS-CBNnews.com on Feb. 20, 2014. I was at the UST that night to help mount TV Patrol’s live coverage from the university’s Plaza Mayor, where anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro came to receive awards. As we finished transmitting live footage of the event, I put together the winners and some quips from the recipients into a story that was e-mailed to base before my tech team left UST.)

"TV Patrol" anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro received the newscast's "Student's Choice of News Program" award from the 10th USTv Awards. (Grab c/o UST Tomasian Cable)

“TV Patrol” anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro receive the newscast’s award from USTv. (Grab c/o UST Tomasian Cable)

ABS-CBN took home the most awards at the 10th USTv Students’ Choice Awards held at the University of Santo Tomas on Thursday.

The Kapamilya network was recognized by the Tomasian student leaders as their choice of TV network.

Its public service arm, the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc., was among those picked student leaders’ choice of network foundation.

ABS-CBN flagship newscast “TV Patrol” led the winners in the news and public affairs category as students’ choice of news program.

Anchors Noli De Castro and Korina Sanchez received the award, which “TV Patrol” also won in 2013.

“Sa araw-araw, gabi-gabi, binabalita lang namin ang nangyayari. Ang mga artista po diyan ay kung sino ang involved sa mga balita. Ang kinatutuwa po namin ay pinahahalagahan ninyo ang mga balita,” De Castro said.

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Why Boy Abunda won’t enter politics

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(First published on ABS-CBNnews.com on January 31, 2014)

Boy Abunda talks to students at a forum in the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. (Photo by Beata Carolino, UP Journalism Club)

Boy Abunda talks to students at a forum in the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. (Photo by Beata Carolino, UP Journalism Club)

Talk show host Boy Abunda is no longer entertaining thoughts of running for public office anytime soon.

“I am announcing it here: I changed my mind, I’m not going into politics,” he told over 100 students at a forum in the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Mass Communication on Thursday.

Abunda admitted that the pork barrel scam made him think twice about running.

“I was just so disappointed,” he said. “Ayoko na, ayoko na talaga.”

The “Bandila” anchor first revealed in the run-up to the 2013 midterm polls that he was considering a run for the gubernatorial post in his home province of Eastern Samar in 2016.

The pork barrel scam, which disclosed the misuse of legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Funds, was exposed two months after the election.

Abunda said that while he could find the right time to run, it was not now.

“It’s not a permanent decision, but given the choice, and given the political landscape today, I will continue doing my interviews with politicians and public servants. But to dip my fingers and what is left of my soul into the political arena is not something that I would do in the next few years,” Abunda said.

To laughs, he added: “I will continue to be a pole-dancer.”

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Dead Leyte firemen honored as heroes

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

A fire truck carrying a flag-draped casket in honor of five fallen fire service men passes through Rizal Avenue in Tacloban City. (Shot by Jong De Guzman)

(Shot by Jong De Guzman)

TACLOBAN CITY – Sirens wailed through downtown Tacloban as firefighters paid tribute to comrades who died during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda.

At a motorcade that waded through the city’s main streets under the heat of day, members of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) stood guard over a casket draped with a flag and perched atop a fire truck. It represented not only one, but five fire service officers washed away by flood waters as they rescued relatives and compatriots.

The BFP is still busy with relief, recovery, and restoration efforts, but they halted it on Wednesday to honor the lives of SFO4 Ricardo Raga, SFO3 Marius Andre Sison, FO2 Rolando Cinco, FO1 Felix Miranda, and FO1 Melquiades Baguio.

These fire servicemen, like others, were on red alert during the storm. Their bodies, identified by uniforms, were found days later and buried soon after.

“They responded to the call of duty, I respect them so much,” said S/Supt. Pablito Cordeta, the BFP director for Region VIII. “They’re really heroes.”

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Taclobanons want weapons against looters

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(First published on ABS-CBNnews.com on Dec. 4, 2013)

The few people left in the subdivisions look after homes damaged by the typhoon and whose owners left the town. (Shot by Archie Torres, ABS-CBN News)

(Shot by Archie Torres, ABS-CBN News)

TACLOBAN CITY– The worse is not yet over for some natives of typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City.

At the Cristina Heights and Kassel Homes subdivisions, many homes are deserted and locked up, their owners having abandoned them out of fear in the aftermath of super storm Yolanda (Haiyan).

The few people who chose to stay are concerned about incidents of theft by burglars who take advantage of exposed areas like roofs.

Such fears run counter to statements by the police that the peace and order situation in the city is under control.

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Solution eludes nursing school woes


Last of two parts. Read Part One here.

(First published Tuesday, 16 June 2009)

OFFICIALS of the Commission on Higher Education are used to dealing with members of congressmen making all sorts of demands—from requests for scholarships to following up the permits of nursing schools.

But the buck of political pressure does not stop in Congress. It goes all the way up.

A former commissioner recalled being contacted by a Malacañang official to order CHED to relax its requirements, specifically the one requiring nursing schools to have a partner tertiary base hospital.

The former CHED official also pointed to a school owner, a close supporter of President Gloria Arroyo, applying to open other nursing campuses. The school, which did not meet the hospital requirement, was among 23 that were ordered closed by CHED in 2005. CHED then received an order from Malacanang to give that particular school a permit.

Three years after, the school’s owner figured among the President’s choices for CHED chair. Arroyo eventually picked Dr. Emmanuel Angeles of Angeles University, who was not involved in that controversy, to be chair.

Presidential support lacking

Describing the relationship between the Palace and CHED, the former official said, “If the President supported us more, CHED would have been stronger.”

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New nursing schools open despite ban


Note: This two‐part report was the output of my thesis with Mark Angelo Ching, which was supervised by Prof. Yvonne Chua and edited by Prof. Chit Estella. We chose to investigate the state of our nursing schools partly due to our concern with the increasing number of jobless nurses. We also saw that the media has not looked deeper into this issue since the 2006 exam leakage controversy. For our research, I took care of interviewing most sources and researching the Congress archives, while Mark compiled and analyzed nursing board exam performances of schools. Our work on this thesis familiarized us with the dealings of the Commission on Higher Education and the problems that still need to be addressed in nursing education. Vera Files (Part 1 & 2), The Manila Times, GMANews.tv (Part 1 & 2), and The Philippine Graphic magazine released the report.

First of two parts

(First published Monday, 15 June 2009)

NURSING schools all over the country will be opening their doors this week to thousands of students with the great white cap dream—getting a nursing degree, working in a hospital abroad and earning a comfortable living.

But not all these schools are qualified to offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. In fact, some of them were supposed to have been shut down years ago for failing to meet the requirements of the Commission on Higher Education, while some new ones were not supposed to have opened at all.

The fact is, many students are spending their parents’ hard-earned money on substandard nursing education because CHED has been unable to weed out the poorly performing nursing schools.

In 2004, CHED declared a moratorium on the opening of more nursing schools after professional nurses complained that nursing schools were sprouting like mushrooms, even as more students were failing the nursing licensure exams. The problem reached tipping point in 2006 when news of a leakage in the exams made headlines.

But political and business pressures exerted on CHED have been preventing it from effectively regulating nursing schools and closing down those that perform badly.

CHED records show that from 2004 to 2007, more than 120 schools began offering nursing courses compared to only 98 new schools in the same time span before the moratorium. A total of 459 nursing schools operate in the country today.

Number of Philippine nursing schools from 1998 to 2007 (Source: Commission on Higher Education)

Number of nursing schools in the Philippines, 1998 – 2007 (Source: Commission on Higher Education)

CHED officials revealed that the commission even allowed more schools to open by continually processing pending applications. As recent as August 2008, CHED exempted certain schools from the moratorium through a verbal agreement among the commissioners. This agreement was not made public by CHED. Even now, a number of schools are reportedly applying to open, one of them with up to 17 new campuses.

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Remember your UPCAT?

Cover of SPIS Insights, Volume V, Issue No. 2, August-November 2004 - the Official Student Publication of the Second Philippine International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,

SPIS Insights, Aug-Nov 2004 issue

Except for some hazy mental snapshots, I have little to recall of the time I took the University of the Philippines College Admission Test or UPCAT.

The Nokia 6600 was only beginning the wave of cellphone picture-taking. I guess we were also rather excited to bother taking shots.

The test questions evade my memory too.

My classmates and I took the exam in October–way past the national testing month of August.

Fortunately, they brought the UPCAT to the Middle East. The hundreds of senior students studying in the region’s 34 Philippine schools no longer needed to cut classes to fly home.

Our testing centers were the Philippine embassy and consulates. The testing fee–100 US Dollars.

What I only remember now is what’s captured in this feature we did in our school paper a month after our UPCAT.

Our features editor Bea Borja collected the quips. No surprise she later passed and finished her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics at the university.

UPCAT 2004

Thoughts and quotes from the test room

(Published on Page 10, Feature section of SPIS Insights, the Official Student Publication of the Second Philippine International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Volume V, Issue No. 2, August-November 2004)

BEFORE the test…

“Andiyan na si Ma’am Francial.”
“O ano? Puntahan na natin?”
“Sakay tayo sa bus para kunyari hinatid tayo!”
“Wag masyadong magulo!”
“Guys, let’s pray na.”
“Hala…Kinabahan ako!”
“Ano na nga ba ang formula ng surface area ng cube?”
“Eh, ung forumla ng surface area ng cube?”
“Nagdala ka pa ng libro? Ay, baon mo pala. Huh?”
“Ay! Pinto pala ‘to! Kanina pa ako nagtataka kung paano sila nakakapasok.”
“Malamig ba sa loob? Bakit sila naka-jacket?”
“Mag-CR na ang dapat mag-CR.”
“Uy, camera, camera! Dali pose na!”
“Makikita tayo sa TFC! Chance na natin ‘to para ma-discover!”
“Ang gulo niyo, Fourth Year. Hindi ako natutuwa, hindi ako natutuwa.”
“Teka! Sino pa ang wala?”
“Sina Sarah, Dean at Ronnie po.”
“Asan si Sarah?”
“Nagbo-blower pa yata ng kanyang hair.”
“Naku si Ronnie! Hinarang na yata sa entrance!”
“Paano kaya kung sumigaw ako dito ng ‘Bomba!’?”
“Ang tagal naman! Lalo akong kinakabahan, eh.”
“Nakita niyo na yung kamukha ni Ma’am Aficial?”
“Alin diyan?”
“Yun. Yung kauupo lang.”
“O pila na, pila na. Boys first, alphabetical.”
*THIS IS the moment! (Ala-Erik)*
“Eto na! Good luck, good luck…”
“God speed people!”


“Hmmp! Ang hirap!”
“Sir, pahingi pa po ng scratch paper…”
“Excuse me po…”
“Hmm… Ugh!”
*kamot sa ulo*


“O kumusta?”
“Ano, kita-kits na lang sa PLM!”
“Ang hirap nung Science!”
“Oo nga! Limot ko na yung mga moles-moles na yan, eh!”
“Ang haba pa nung Reading Comprehension!”
“Natapos mo?”
“Hindi nga, eh.”
“Nag-iwan ka ng blanks?”
“Oo. Bakit, ikaw?”
“Hindi. Di naman daw right-minus-wrong talaga, eh.”
“Psst, sino nga pala yung katabi mo kanina?”
“Hey, pray tayo uli!”
“Thank you po sa lahat, Lord…”
“O, sinong susundo sa ‘yo?”
“Si Daddy.”
“Pakner, pwedeng makisabay?”
“Ang haba pala talaga nun!”
“Hirap pa!”
“Ang tagal naman ng sundo ko!”
“Hmmp! Gutom na ako!”

*Compiled by the 18 Seniors who took the UP College Admission Test at the Philippine Embassy last Oct. 24

No matter when one took the UPCAT, all results still come out on January or February the following year. Another memorable moment for a UP student.

To the prospective Iskos and Iskas whose student numbers will begin with “13”, all the best!

Chasing Fallen Stars: How television news covers the death of celebrities

(NOTE: I wrote this with two Journalism classmates as our final case study in Journalism Ethics [ J 192] class under Prof. Yvonne T. Chua in March 2009.

Celebrity news, largely a mix of glamour, PR, and scandal, is rarely looked at as an area for responsible reporting. But it is a staple in Philippine media relegated to the end segment of newscasts or the E-section of papers.

But what happens when showbiz lands the top story? We looked at how TV news covered the deaths of celebrities, the coverage of which is as sensitive as covering deaths in the general public.

Two happened twice before this final paper was assigned, which we compared to a highly-remembered one which occurred a decade ago from today’s writing.

DISCLOSURE: I am now an employee of ABS-CBN News. Roehl, one of my co-writers, works for GMA News.)



How television news covers the death of celebrities

By Andrew Jonathan Bagaoisan, Roehl Niño Bautista and Annamaebelle Bernal

(First of two parts)

Screenshot of Rico Yan memorial service in 2003 (c/o ABS-CBN)

Grab from Yan’s memorial service aired live on ABS-CBN.

It was a non-stop six-hour affair made for television. At the funeral mass for matinee idol Rico Yan, singer-performer Gary Valenciano moved people to tears rendering “Warrior is a child,” the actor’s favorite song.

Priest Tito Caluag, in his homily, told mourners how Yan dreamed of becoming president. “Rico wanted to be a leader but never mentioned leadership because he only wanted to serve,” said Caluag.

For the climax of a week-long drama captured by television, the service was just the beginning.

From the thousands who held vigil at the wake, thousands of others went outside their homes and waited at the roadside where the convoy en-route to the young actor’s final resting place was about to pass, just to see the car that carried the famous lad’s mortal shell. People cried for the loss of an idol, a friend, a family member, and these with all other drama were shown on national television.

News personalities of ABS-CBN, Yan’s home network, stationed at key areas of the convoy to report live every stage of the procession on ground while the station’s “Sky Patrol” helicopter followed the whole procession from La Salle Green Hills to Manila Memorial Park on camera. It definitely wasn’t ordinary for a burial coverage to last that long.

But Yan’s death in March 2002 was not the only newsworthy event as television news made it to be with its “unprecedented” and “overwhelming” coverage, as a newspaper put it.

Attention to Yan’s demise pushed to the side stories like the Baseco Compound fire which displaced around 3,000 families, a dry-dock accident in Dubai that left eight Filipinos dead and eight more missing, and the deaths of National Artists for Music Levi Celerio and Lucio San Pedro, and Britain’s Queen Mother.

Celebrities make the news. Deaths also make the news. Put those two together and the media is put in a tight spot when it comes to ethics. If covering famous personalities is already problematic, covering celebrities who died is even trickier, when the newsworthy elements of the two combine but their at-times incompatible values clash.

In a country where showbiz news is a daily television staple presented under the guise of journalism, the nuances of covering celebrity deaths are largely unexplored in depth or remiss in guidelines.

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