Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio will count down GMA Public
Affairs' biggest, most unforgettable stories in 20: Dalawampung Taon ng GMA
Public Affairs this Sunday, October 28 at 10:30 p.m.
This retrospective TV
special will feature stories
that opened the eyes of viewers to shocking realities, stories that touched
hearts, stories that helped change the nation's history, stories that now
define GMA's Public Affairs department.
THE BEGINNING. It was the year
1987 when Tina Monzon-Palma, then head of GMA News, decided to set up a Public
This was manned
by only five people, fresh graduates all, who first held office in the tiny
locker room of news cameramen.
now Senior Vice-President for GMA News and Public Affairs, was one of the first
Public Affairs employees Tina Monzon-Palma hired in 1987. Ms. Flores recalls,
"We had no experience and no equipment, no camera even to call our own. On
our first sets we just glued gold letters to black backing announcing the name
of the program. But we had the passion to work."
imagine then that from this passion would grow a department of more than 500
staffers, now producing 16 of the most awarded programs on Philippine
Monzon-Palma says the year public affairs began, there was a hunger for
in-depth discussion of issues. After decades of media repression she
explains, "Filipino viewers wanted to find out what was happening in their new
government, the changes that were taking place as well as what befell former
leaders who had been removed via People Power. The half-hour daily
newscast was simply not enough to discuss all this."
Affairs began by producing special reports. Their first long form
production was Inside Congress which back then won the Catholic Mass
Media Award for Best Documentary.
shows soon followed. Jose Mari Velez, a well-known broadcaster at the
time, hosted GMA Public Affairs' first station-produced talk program, Weekend
with Velez, later renamed Velez this Week.
was joined by block timers and co-productions such as Viewpoint with Dong
Puno, Firing Line with Teddy Benigno, Issues and Answers with
Art Borjal, and The Probe Team with Cheche Lazaro.
years later, GMA Public Affairs produces the late night block composed of shows such as I-Witness,
Reporter's Notebook, Palaban, 100% Pinoy, and Emergency. It
also counts the morning program Unang Hirit and primetime programs Kapuso
Mo, Jessica Soho and Imbestigador among its shows—along with
magazine programs, children's shows, travel documentaries, and reality programs.
is proud to have won the George Foster Peabody Award for investigative reports
and two Gold Medals from the New York Festivals for its shows.
Marissa Flores credits
the success of the department to the values already long implanted in the news
organization. "It was never an option to not be balanced, to not get both sides
of story, there were standards already in place. We stand on the
shoulders of those who came before us. "
agrees: "Public affairs has not changed its basic principles—to put issues in
the proper perspective, to be objective and balanced, to put together a good
story, be it in documentary, magazine or debate format. I think these principles
have kept it not just where it was 20 years ago. It has grown to an even
higher level of professionalism."
This year, GMA
Public Affairs celebrates 20 years of public service. To mark this
milestone, GMA will be airing a very special retrospective documentary, 20: Dalawampung Taon ng Public Affairs, this Sunday,
October 28, at 10:30 pm.