The launching of GMA Network's coffee-table book commemorating its 60th anniversary was graced by no less than President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
Serving as keynote speaker, Aquino harked back to the significance that the network holds in his personal life and in the life of the nation.
"It was the only TV station that covered the assassination of my dad, Benigno S. Aquino Jr., and his historic wake and funeral. It was also the TV station where my mom, former President Corazon C. Aquino, made her television debut, on August 21, 1984. You were also present at her historic wake and funeral, which we will be commemorating in two days," Aquino said to applause, last night, July 30, at a special event hosted by the network at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City.
The president was again applauded when he looked back on the "dark years of martial law" and commended the network for persisting in "keeping the public informed despite the risks of censorship and even to the safety of your reporters."
Aquino made an appeal to the media to help him realize the nation's goals under his administration without sacrificing freedom of speech and the right to inform the public. He also asked that the network, in looking at its bottomline, be cognizant of the need to create an informed citizenry, noting that "purely entertainment" shows would not do this job.
"I believe you have a right and an obligation to encourage public discourse, but I hope that it is the type of discourse that leads to consensus, one that will ultimately lead to action... I will need your help to accurately convey to the nation our current state of affairs, and how our people can do their part in the next six years."
COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNT. The coffee-table book, titled Kapuso: The GMA Story, chronicles the network's inspiring, challenging, and triumphant ascent to the top of the highly competitive broadcasting industry.
Novelist-columnist Alfred "Krip" Yuson wrote and edited the 199-page book, which traces the station's beginning from a fledgling radio station in 1950 to one of today's broadcast giants covering the fields of radio, television, and even movies.
In the book, network executives Felipe L. Gozon, Gilberto M. Duavit, Menardo R. Jimenez, Annette Gozon-Abrogar, and Wilma Galvante, along with Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco, Orly Mercado, Tina Monzon-Palma, German Moreno and a few others, gave personal insights about the institution and its evolution.
GMA's CEO Felipe L. Gozon proudly told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), that this book is good: "Actually this is the second one. The first one was no good, and it did not tell the entire story. So this one, talagang tinrabaho namin, and I see to it that this time it is really complete. Na-trace lahat, pati 'yong kay [Robert La Rue] Stewart [founder of the network and popularly known as 'Uncle Bob'], including the people who are now with Channel 2, nagbigay lahat ng article dun, kaya talagang kumpleto."
UNITING ALL SECTORS. Last night's affair gathered some of the biggest names in the field of entertainment, media, business and politics.
Aside from President Aquino, Vice-President Jejomar Binay and a few cabinet secretaries, PEP also spotted Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, and senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and Franklin Drilon.
House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, ex-Senator Jovito Salonga, and former President Fidel V. Ramos also graced the affair.
Celebrities who graced the occasion included Iza Calzado, Geoff Eigenmann, Carla Abellana, Rufa Mae Quinto, Dingdong Dantes, Marian Rivera, Cesar Montano and Regine Velasquez.
Present were the network's news and public affairs team Marissa Flores, Arnold Clavio, Jessica Soho, Vicky Morales, Howie Severino, Ivan Mayrina, among others. News anchor Mike Enriquez played the role of the evening's engaging host for the admirably brief program. In fact, more time was taken up by the interminable requests for photo-ops with P-Noy, which he kept obliging. The white-barong clad Presidential Security Group had their work cut out for them.
But even more important was the acknowledgment, through an audio-visual presentation, of the men and women who may not be running the network today but were there when the network was on its tough climb to the top: Tony Seva, Rod Reyes, Gilberto Duavit Sr., Freddie Garcia, Tina Monzon Palma, and Manuel Quiogue.
The lone copy of the coffee-table book was handed as a gift to P-Noy, gift-wrapped, as part of the ceremonies. Handing him the book were GMA Executive Vice President Gilberto Duavit and CEO Felipe Gozon.
Now, what people want to know is what the book looks like (as no one in the launch actually got a peek), and where to get it.