Tatak Public Affairs: How GMA Journalists embody courage, wisdom, and truth in story-telling

by SEA Wave
Vicky Morales
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For more than three decades, GMA Public Affairs has been at the forefront of producing stories that not only touch Filipinos’ lives but also effect change.

Vicky Morales, Susan Enriquez, Doc Ferds Recio and Doc Nielsen Donato, Emil Sumangil, and Kim Atienza proudly wear the Tatak Public Affairs badge. Their work, and to an extent their lives, revolve around the tenets of courage (Tapang), wisdom (Talino), and truth (Totoo).

Advocating the good

Award-winning broadcast journalist Vicky Morales believes that for a show or a story to have that Tatak Public Affairs brand, there should be fairness, heart, truth, and social relevance.

“Dapat kumpleto ‘yung apat na elemento na ‘yun,” she says.

The ‘Journalist with a Heart’, Vicky has witnessed first-hand how GMA Public Affairs upholds these elements. “I’m very proud to be part of Public Affairs dahil alam ko ang work ethic dito, I know the hard work that goes with it. I’ve experienced that since day one.”

She adds that she is able to inspire people to actually do good and not just be good. Her long-running show, ‘Wish Ko Lang’ is a perfect example of this. The drama anthology, which celebrated its 20th year recently, continues to spread positivity to its featured case studies as well as the audience.

“The greater value of ‘Wish Ko Lang’ is touching the audience and planting a seed in them, making them feel that they want to do good,” she shares.

Radiating with good vibes as well is ‘Good News Kasama si Vicky Morales,’ a show that has been featuring travel destinations, food spots, and must-try activities to re-energize one’s self.

“People want to be able to feel that there is goodness in the world. People want positive content. People long for good news. [They want to] push change-makers to the right directions,” she adds.

Connecting people

Tatak Public Affairs resonates with the public.

“Kapag sinabi mong Tatak Public Affairs, ito ay tumitimo sa kamalayan ng mga manonood.May iniiwan laging bakas,” shares veteran broadcast journalist Susan Enriquez.

Susan Enriquez

Stories of ordinary people become extraordinary when these inspire many. Susan believes it is essential to tell their stories truthfully because this way, the audience gets connected not only to the narrative but to the people to whom the story originated.

And to connect with people is what Susan is good at, thus she is fondly called, ‘Kumare ng Bayan.’ Her ability to relate to the audience is probably one of the reasons why her shows ‘I Juander,’ and ‘Pera Paraan’ have been going strong.

For more than a decade already, I Juander has featured stories that satisfy Filipinos’ inherent curiosity about their identity and culture while making them relevant to the present world.

Pera Paraan, on the other hand, is a show that was conceptualized at the height of the pandemic. It continues to offer practical tips on handling household finances and earning additional income in the new normal.

Susan says she is privileged to be able to share these stories. [‘Yung] Handa kang makinig sa kuwento ng bawat taong makakausap mo at handa mong ilahad ang totoong kuwento ng mga taong nagbigay sa’yo ng pagkakataon na ilahad sayo ang kuwento nila – pribilehiyo mo yun.  Kung siya ay nagbigay sayo ng tiwala isa itong pribilehiyo na nagpapataba ng puso mo bilang Public Affairs [host].”

Instigating Change

For Wildlife Warriors Doc Ferds Recio and Doc Nielsen Donato, Tatak Public Affairs means facing the challenges and the consequences that come their way in producing stories, especially about the environment and wildlife.

Doc Ferds Recio

“Ang Tatak Public Affairs, hindi basta-basta umuurong sa mga hamon ng storya. Matapang na tinatalakay ang mga isyu, in our case issue ng environment, wildlife,” says Doc Ferds, who together with Doc Nielsen, hosts the environment and wildlife show Born to be Wild.

Now on its 15th year, Born to be Wild has changed the public’s view on the environment and wildlife – an achievement Doc Ferds and Doc Nielsen are most proud of.

“Pag lumabas ka sa kalsada, nakikita nila Born to be Wild,  alam nila na you are protecting the nature — dun pa lang yun na ang biggest achievement na nagawa ng show at tayo as hosts,” shares Doc Nielsen.

“We were given a platform to instigate change, to educate people about wildlife, by showcasing the current status of our environment. And mabago yung paniniwala na meron tayo,” says Doc Ferds. “Halimbawa, kapag nakakita ng bayawak, kakainin, sawa, papatayin, lahat ng ahas makamandag. Yung mga first few years namin sa born to be wild, pag nakakakita kami ng ahas, patay na. Ngayon buhay na. ‘Saan mo natutunan yan? Napanood po namin sa Born to be Wild.”

Doc Nielsen agrees. “That’s the impact of the show. Tulad ng king of cobra, kelan lang ba tayo naka shoot na buhay? Parati ‘yang patay. Malaki ang impact natin, hindi lang sa Pilipinas. When we do live, makikita mo eh, may mga nanonood din mula sa ibang bansa.”

As part of GMA Public Affairs, they take their integrity and professionalism everywhere they go. “Parang habang buhay na naming magiging responsibilidad ang pagtulong when it comes to wildlife. Unconsciously, nakatatak na sa amin ang Public Affairs–the way we think, the way we behave inside and out of our work as journalists,” Doc Nielsen adds.

Public Service with a heart

Emil Sumangil has been in the industry for more than two decades but he is still driven by his passion to give public service to Filipinos. As one of the anchors of the news magazine show Dapat Alam Mo!, Emil not only delivers the news of the day but also extends Serbisyong Totoo to viewers in need of help.

Emil Sumangil

For Mr. Exclusive, what makes GMA Public Affairs a cut above the rest is its genuine concern for the public in every program and project it produces.

“Mas komprehensibo, mas malalim, mas malawak, mas nahahawakan nito ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino – ito ang ibig sabihin ng Tatak Public Affairs,” says Emil. “Mas may malasakit sa bawat Pilipino.  Sasamahan pa ng impormasyon kaya ang taong bayan ang nakikinabang sa lahat ng ating gawin.”

Being able to provide public service is rewarding, he adds. “Sa oras na matugunan ‘yung immediate concern ay tuwang tuwa na tayo. Ibang klase ang fulfillment.”

Emil, who puts God at the center of his life, believes that being a journalist is a vocation. “Ang pagiging mamahayag ay isang calling. Ibang klaseng tungkulin meron tayo rito. Ang tunay na public servant ay maituturing kong isang reporter, [ang] pagiging mata at tenga sa lahat ng nangyayari sa ating bansa. Ginamit tayo ng Diyos para makapaghatid ng tulong.”

Making learning fun

Like Emil, Kim Atienza considers his job as a vocation.

Kim Atienza

“Lahat ng tao binigyan ng iba’t ibang bokasyon. I’ve been on TV for 19 years. My vocation on TV is to give information in the easiest way that the kid and adults can understand,” shares the co-host of Dapat Alam Mo!

As a versatile host, triathlete, and wellness and biodiversity advocate, Kuya Kim continues to challenge himself personally and professionally. Fondly regarded by many as a trivia man for his penchant for sharing stories behind the existence of things and phenomena,  The Explorer inspires viewers to never stop learning and discovering while having fun. And for him, Tatak Public Affairs has perfected that art.

“Ito ay ang paghahayag ng impormasyon na tama sa isang paraan na nakakaaliw at malinaw na naaabot ng lahat ng strata ng lipunan. Kapag tatak Public Affairs, abot lahat. Pasok sa panlasa ng marami – mahirap, mayaman, bata, matanda – yan ang Public Affairs,” he shares.

Every story, he adds, is backed by research. “Napakalalim ng research at sinisigurado na tama ang binibigay na imporasyon pero binibigay [ito] sa isang paraan na engaging to watch, hindi siya limiting. Dito kakaiba, pero ang values na tinuturo ay angkop sa henerasyon ngayon,” he adds.

“One of the things that is difficult on TV is longevity. Maraming magagaling pero di tumatagal. Because it’s not about us. It’s about the content that I give. At ang content ng Public Affairs ay napaka masinsin, napaka pinag-aralan talaga at napaka lalim. Walang palya ika nga.”

Vicky, Susan, Doc Ferds, Doc Nielsen, Emil, and Kim join Jessica Soho, Kara David, Maki Pulido, Drew Arellano, and Atom Araullo in upholding Tatak Public Affairs: Tapang. Talino. Totoo.

Spanning three decades of blazing the trail in producing compelling stories, GMA Public Affairs has indeed instilled its unique brand in every Filipino.

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