We’re back

After two years of hiatus, because of busy schedules and also a lack of suitable topics to tackle because of the increasingly toxic political narratives from all sides of the isle, I have decided to reactivate my blog.

Besides that I want to make use of my time while we are all on quarantine, I would like to dedicate this blog for the 100% support of the constitutional reform movement as it will bring tangible long-term benefits to the Filipino people. Because of the present structure of governance, we are ignorant on world affairs and the world is ignorant on our affairs.

I will, from time to time, also discuss about random musings, crowd-sourced topics, as well as developments in the Philippine media industry, as well as local and international politics from the view of how the Filipino should see the world.

Inaasahan po namin ang inyong patuloy na suporta. Daghang salamat kaayo kag halong permi!

After COVID-19, we need a better system

Our government’s response in handling the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the inefficiencies of our current system. Why?

  • Under the unitary system, the national government sets rules and guidelines while the local government units cannot independently act on their own and are being micromanaged from the top levels of leadership despite the fact that these local governments have more knowledge on the ground.
  • Under the presidential system, the president either lacks power or is being given too much power over handling this crisis, as he has to rely on the legislative branch in order to be granted powers. And because of this, there is a lack in accountability, and even if a government official is being incompetent, he cannot be immediately replaced as the said official serves under the pleasure of the president.
  • Under the 40/60 economic restrictions, we have to rely on loans, higher taxes, development aid, or austerity measures in order to fund emergency measures as we lack additional taxation revenue deriving from foreign direct investments.

Now that is getting clearer and clearer that we are being messed up by our current system of government, what should we do? Replacing our incumbents will not be enough because even a good politician can be eaten up by the rotten system. We have to have a new system in place so that it is assured that meaningful change in this country will last beyond a politician’s term.

What are these key reforms needed?

  • Adoption of federalism – The Philippines is a multi-ethnic society so concentrating political and economic power in one area is not a good idea. Political and economic power should be devolved for faster delivery of services, more efficient local governance, and for the country’s diversity to be respected.
  • Adoption of a parliamentary system – Countries using the parliamentary system are proven to have stronger accountability because of constant parliamentary debates where government policies are scrutinized in real time, and have stronger independent institutions that check graft and corruption. The Philippines deserve to join the ranks of these countries too.
  • Removal of 40/60 restrictions – The Philippines has to be opened up to foreign direct investments from all countries as these investors will provide additional jobs and taxes that will contribute to our economic growth, and provides the skills necessary for us to develop our own industries.

Adoption of these three key reforms is not an easy task. It requires extensive amendments to our Constitution, the fundamental law of the land, for these to be implemented. Some people may be averse to the idea, but in a functioning democracy, changes to the Constitution will be necessary for the maturity of our political processes and to make sure that our fundamental laws are in tune with the changing times.

May this pandemic be a time of reflection for us that we should think of long-term solutions on how to make our country a better place.

#BanatReview: One News


Caution to the reader: You may notice deviations from the topic indicated in the title and unnecessary side notes. This is done to present a narrative.

This blog site of mine has become stagnant in its activity as I have become busy with the real world (that is completing my requirements for my subjects, I’m now in 4th year and I was completing my internship over at EBC which I pretty enjoyed) and the lack of subjects to discuss.

With this very boring Sunday, I suddenly thought of making this review of Cignal Digital TV’s One News.

Let me share this, two weeks ago representatives from Cignal came over at our house and my mom told me they are there to install our connection. It took me by surprise as it was against my wishes as I was already content with our RCA Digital TV box with a Baron BRL Antenna as I’m able to enjoy our local channels in high definition (PTV 4, Net 25, and INC TV; more on this on my previous post if you have time to check it out), but somehow excited because I missed watching programs on pay TV since we had disconnected from our SKYcable connection in 2017 and decided to settle with digital free TV. At siyempre, ‘di na ako makakapalag kasi nanay ko na nag-desisyon at di naman ako ang magbabayad para doon, ‘di ba?

Oh, where was I? So, eto na. Naikabit na nila yung Cignal namin. As I was exploring the channel offerings (all channels are unlocked for a long time before they activate your plan, as in our case, Plan 490), I came across One News.

One News was launched last May 28 to replace Bloomberg TV Philippines (which has been relegated into a program block on the channel). This was launched to combine the resources of Bloomberg TV Philippines, News5, The Philippine Star, and BusinessWorld, all of which are owned by Mediaquest. I was familiar with it but only saw snippets of the channel through Jove Francisco’s IG stories, Facebook videos, and this SID, which makes the channel all the more promising.

And it indeed was. What I saw was a potential strong competitor to ANC which has been the leader for two decades. Although I disliked the datacast interface which I felt unpleasant as it obstructs the slick production value of the programs, its offerings are compelling.

Say anything you want against Shawn Yao but I must say Rush Hour is a pretty decent morning news program. I can also say that Agenda and The Chiefs are reminiscent of those pundit-hosted news shows seen on CNN and Fox News, and The Big Story makes a strong news program.

Although the channel’s programming is still dominated by taped programs and replays of its live programs, I believe over time the amount of live programming will increase due to demand, and I believe it will make a strong competitor to ANC, as long as MVP takes it seriously in pours in much resources. It must learn from the lessons of News5 which failed to seize on the momentum when given all the opportunities.

That said, I must say watching One News somehow made me appreciate our Cignal connection. Peace out, and have a safe week ahead.

High definition broadcast on digital free TV

We are five years shy of meeting the analog shutdown deadline, which means by that time a majority of the Philippine TV market would have migrated to digital terrestrial TV. While we’re at it (that is the transition stage), we will see how our television networks are faring in terms of delivering content.

As most of us know (at least the very basic knowledge, the more technical aspects we’ll leave to the professionals), our system ISDB-T adopted from Japan has the capacity to either deliver 8 standard definition multiplexes or 2 (in the case of state-owned PTV, three) high definition multiplexes.

Our television networks has already switched to HD-ready equipment? But in terms of broadcasting in the resolution? To put it mildly, we’re getting there.

Those broadcasting in full high definition at present are minor networks and religious broadcasters: CNN Philippines, PTV (PTV HD1 airs the main Channel 4, PTV HD2 airs reels from RTVM and the PCOO, PTV HD3 broadcasts Salaam TV and Lumad TV dedicated to the Moro and Lumad communities), Pastor Quiboloy’s SMNI News Channel, UNTV-BMPI’s Social TV and the MCGI-affiliated Truth Channel, Adventist-owned Hope Channel Philippines and GNN (which leases space on Hope Channel’s multipex), JIL’s Light TV (albeit upscaled), and the secular and religious-oriented channels of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC TV and NET25).

As for the major networks, ABS-CBN at present exclusively offers the HD versions of their main terrestrial channels (Channel 2 and S+A) and monetizes DTT through exclusive channels (that should change). TV5 meanwhile has HD channels through Colours, Hyper, PBA Rush, and One News, and that should mean they have the funds to fully switch to HD (most of their programs are now in the said format). As for GMA, much of their programs are now produced in full HD but insists on stretching them to 4:3 to benefit those still in CRT and disappoints some of the viewing public. But times are changing, and they haven’t much utilized their bandwidth yet, which gives them space to air in HD.

You might mistake this as an angalysta rant just like the others, but merely voicing out frustrations. But we may never know, as we’re still in the process of transition and there are more surprises in store for us.

ABS-CBN updates its digital lineup, adds new channels

Come July 30, ABS-CBN will unveil new digital channels.

Movie Central, Asianovela Channel, Jeepney TV, Myx, and O Shopping will be available via UHF 16 in Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and parts of Pampanga and UHF 36 in Metro Cebu.

This is seen as a response to Solar’s recent moves to make a profit off of DTT via their exclusive, subscription-only service through their Easy TV box and to respond to viewer requests to expand their offerings.

It was initally speculated ABS would use UHF 35 in partnership with El Shaddai’s DBS, but eventually decided to go their own way.

Unless our regulators take a firm stand on conditional access, expect DTT to be a new battleground in the ever-escalating feud between Solar and ABS-CBN at the expense of us, the viewing public.

In my own words: SONA 2018

It’s the time of the year again where the chief executive will face the joint session of congress to address the nation on what achievements the government has accomplished.

While the other blog will just rant like a crybaby he truly is (and how he keeps parroting that “I told you so” line just to prove how right he was and how highly he thinks of himself, he’s getting on my nerves lately, I don’t know why, maybe because he’s taking his arrogance up a notch? Akala ko ba titigil mo na yang blog mo? Your Tagalog sucks by the way but your high-flown English doesn’t make you sound smart, it just proves how much of a know-it-all asshole you are, ciao!), I will provide insights that will be as balanced as possible.

This blog has rarely been active nowadays due to real life commitments, I’m a graduating student, and has lost interest in blogging because of a variety of reasons, and some potential backlash.

Two years ago, I was a staunch supporter of the administration, two years later, kung hindi naman tuluyang nawala, nabawasan ang suporta ko because of many factors. As a matter of fact, I even got on the nerves of some real life friends dahil paiba-iba na daw ang isip ko. In my defense, I’m putting my own principles first and I’m not thinking in purely black and white, that is critical thinking. Wala na ako dyan kung di ko man kayo makumbinsi, at least I made a point.

Another reason why I’m losing interest is that they’re not just that delivering on whatever they promised. I keep telling myself I’d rather talk about foreign politics because I can talk about it in depth without pissing people off. At natututo tayo. Federalism is trial and error with the method of government and the pacing of reforms, Chinese encroachment is overlooked, inflation and tax reform, you name it. But I don’t want to piss myself off and piss others off, all I care is that they build more trains. Sabi nga ng nanay ko, di ko naman hawak ang mga bagay na yan.

Need I say more? Di na siguro. Basta nababanas lang ako kay Timo, ay este sa isa dyan na saksakan ng yabang. Unlike that crybaby na di raw manonood pero ang lakas magmonitor sa coverage, I will watch but won’t pay that much of an attention, unless something urgent is brought up. Collective guilt mo mukha mo, Mr. Know-It-All. Someone must slap you with reality so you won’t have to pretend to be woke, di ka lang talaga mahal ng nanay mo. Umuwi ka na sa Cebu, ikaw yata long-lost child ng mga Chiong na napadpad sa Pampanga.

That’s enough for me, hanggang sa susunod kung gaganahan pa ako magsulat dito. Toxic na nga ang diskurso dito, dagdagdag pa ba ako?

Eleksyon na naman. At ang papanget ng jingle niyo.

Matapos na makailang beses na muntik hindi matuloy dahil sa pangamba na ang karamihan sa mga kandidato ay mga may koneksyon sa ilegal na droga, matutuloy na sa Lunes ang Barangay at SK elections.

At mayroon akong napapansin. Na karamihan sa mga jingle ng kandidato ay base sa mga nauusong kanta. Bboom Bboom, Naradang, Hayaan Mo Sila, Dahil sa ‘Yo ni Iñigo Pascual, Despacito, at marami pang diba. Naka-full blast pa with kasamang pa-tambol pa.

Napakabaduy, ang laking pansira. Wala ba kayo ibang maisip? Pwede naman kayo gumawa ng sarili niyong jingle diba. Pilit nakikisakay sa uso. Baka may iilang natutuwa pero karamihan nababanas.

Kung sana lang bawing-bawi sa plataporma at palakad ano?

Well, kahit di pa ako botante (kahit nasa legal na edad na ako, sa 2019 na lang ako boboto), di ko pa rin maiwasan na maglabas ng saloobin bilang Pilipino. Napakagulong pulitika. Sige na nga, sana naenjoy nyo to. Kung may iba pa kayong experience, comment lang kayo.

GMA finally catching up on digital presence

As of today, we have received information that GMA Network has finally expanded its digital terrestrial television (DTT) presence in the regions, with GMA Dagupan now seen over DTT Channel 38 (617.143 mhz, overlapping with UNTV 37’s Manila frequency).


Here is the post from DTV Pilipinas confirming the news.

GMA Dagupan’s digital feed can also be seen in Pangasinan, Tarlac, Benguet, Nueva Ecija, which is also covered by analog channel 10.

As opposed to ABS-CBN’s Luzon relays, it also has the advantage of simulcasting regional programming, such as Balitang Amianan. ABS-CBN should be able to simulcast their regional programs over their DTT relays in Luzon as they have better regional infrastructure.

We also expect in the weeks or months to come for GMA to activate their DTT towers in Cebu and Davao, as they have planned it for the year. This can also be seen as a preparation for their upcoming DTT product.

What if: Sampaguita and LVN during the early days of Pinoy TV

With the growth of Philippine TV impacted by the early decisions of the proponents of Philippine TV and the imposition of martial law, one couldn’t help think of what the possibilities could have been.

For those familiar with DZAQ-TV’s beginnings, in that they went to such extreme debt because of high costs of importation of equipment, because of a lack of content as they relied on borrowed embassy material and interspersed live programming, and the short-term thinking of Tony Quirino (in putting up the station in such a hurry so it would become an achievement of his brother’s administration, October 23 was close to the November 1953 elections), what if they considered to employ the help of the country’s two biggest movie outfit?

Taking into account how television in the United States got to where it is today, that is tying up with the biggest film outfits (Paramount, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Disney), what if the proponents of the first TV station in the country had the same thoughts, and maybe the dynamic of Philippine TV was somehow different from what it is now?

We may never know, but we can’t help think of the possibilities.

Leave your comments here if you somehow agree with this possibility.

On DTT encryption and the future of DTT in the Philippines

To our readers, you may have noticed that DTV Pilipinas has spoken out against the increasingly widespread practice of conditional access on digital terrestrial television, as it limits viewers’ choices of programming and forcing them to purchase network-branded products for the sake of loyalty and maximizing their bottomline.

This practice has been initiated by ABS-CBN when they unveiled their TVplus product in 2015, this is presumably to fast-track the transition to DTT and has the advantage of exclusive channels, although it lacks the other features of other boxes such as HDMI capability. It has since sold around 4 million boxes, and since it is still available at a limited scope (which is Mega Manila, Central Luzon, Northern Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Southern Mindanao), maybe it is time for them to rollout their DTT service on other areas, as they must have made lots of money, right?

Then came Solar with their own dongle which is yet to hit the market. They have made their cable channels available on DTT, yet only if you purchase their product. This could be a way for Solar to get even with ABS-CBN as a result of the carriage disputes surrounding NBA coverage, but Solar must have forgotten that DTT is supposed to be free TV and NOT cable, right? This only adds to the confusion, thanks to ABS-CBN’s marketing which says, para kang nag-cable na walang monthly fee. Inaalaka tuloy ng tao na para ngang cable, eh hindi naman!

Let’s not forget GMA Network’s long-promised dongle, and has since changed its configuration to add encyrpted channels to its lineup. They may be forgetting that they have yet to expand their DTT footprint in regional areas, like Cebu and Davao, as they have promised, right?

With the major networks busy at commercializing DTT, other networks have begun embarking on expanding their footrprint to benefit viewers and markets longing to enjoy benefits of the new emerging medium. Globe-affiliated BEAM has already added Iloilo and Baguio to their digital footprint (in addition to Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao) while state-run PTV began conducting tests in President Duterte’s hometown of Davao City. The Manila Broadcasting Company has also began to broadcast via digital in Metro Cebu (which I will look forward to watching via my DTT-capable phone once I return there for another vacation, God-willing), and local station eMedia began broadcasting in Zamboanga, not to mention Kakampi TV’s broadcasts in Digos City and Tarlac.

In a short span of two years being an enthusiast of digital terrestrial television, I have since monitored the developments in our ongoing transition, whether a new market or station has began broadcasting, or whether we will be able to complete the transition ahead of timeframe we have set, which is the year 2023, especially since September 2017, when INC TV and NET 25, the television networks affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo, of which I’m a proud member, began broadcasting on DTT after a few years’ absence despite being one of the trailblazers in bringing ISDB-T, which is the DTT standard we use, into the country, alongside then NBN-4. INC TV and NET 25 also holds the distinction of being able to broadcast two high-definition channels in a single frequency (though the Adventist-affiliated Gateway is also able to do such through Hope Channel and GNN). The improved picture quality is a huge boost in the Church’s propagation efforts so I will root for the expansion of the Church’s digital TV broadcast in other areas as well, though it is for the Church Administration to decide.

Looking back, with the widespread practice of encryption and the sale of network-branded boxes, they seem to be looking for short-term benefits like profits over short-term gains. Naysayers may still argue, baka gusto mo malugi or other type of defense, well, other countries may also practice encryption, but not as brazen as this! DTT is free TV, contrary to claims over somewhere over there which we will not mention. DTT’s advantage of more program choices must not be exploited for profit, as it hampers the long-term benefit for viewers and the industry in general. The boxes may be helping in fast-tracking expansion, but detrimental in the long-term.

The government and other broadcasters disadvantaged by the practice must join forces, in order for the practice stopped, for the benefit of the viewing public.