Jerry Donato – The Philippine Star

November 6, 2021 | 12:00am

GMA continues to find ways to get a clear picture of what’s going on in the regions. Through its GMA Regional TV, it has created news hubs and programs to provide culturally-rooted reports. Testament to it is the beefed-up One Mindanao.

Aside from catering to parts of Southern, Central and Northern Mindanao, the newscast will also now serve Western Mindanao with the launch of GMA Zamboanga. Mindanaoans can expect better news and features that matter to them. One Mindanao airs Mondays to Fridays at 5 p.m. and is simultaneously broadcast in cities and provinces in Mindanao through GMA local channels.

“This is produced by the Mindanaoans for the Mindanaoans,” said GMA Regional TV vice president and head Oliver Amoroso of the newscast’s unique characteristic in a recent virtual media call. “The people behind the program are really from Mindanao or proud Mindanaoans. You will see that in their stories and the features we present.”

Following Oliver’s line of thought, One Mindanao will go beyond the usual reporting about conflict or local “wars.” The people behind One Mindanao and the communities it serves are given the platform to present issues and find solutions locally. The news program was developed to bring people together as one community, if one may put it. This mindset is reflected in One Mindanao’s segments like news and mini-documentary and content on community and development. All this is also aired nationally and internationally through affiliated platforms like GMA Regional TV Weekend News on GMA News TV and GMA News TV International.

“We gather stories all over Mindanao,” said One Mindanao Davao-based anchor Sarah Hilomen-Velasco of the news team’s daily grind. “We have stringers all over Mindanao. Aside from the reporters’ stories, we see all the stories that are coming in. What we do is, what’s happening in one place, we connect it with what’s happening in another place.” An example she cited was the trend on the filing of Certificate of Candidacy (COC). She and the news personnel checked on related news developments in Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga. From there, they merged and consolidated reports into one story.

“For us, through One Mindanao, all areas in Mindanao get empowered because (the public) knows what’s happening in these different places,” added she.

However, doing so is challenging given the region’s cultural and linguistic diversity. The population is composed of Muslims and Christians, who speak Bisaya, Maranao and Chavacano and have their own traditions.

“We need to understand the religious beliefs, traditions and culture of every area,” shared Sarah, who, as part of a news program, needs to use words that are acceptable to all. “Kailangan tutukan (at) paulit-ulit basahin yung script para ang pag present ng storya is acceptable to all and understood by all (We need to give extra attention to the script and read it again and again to make sure that the story is acceptable and understood by all).”

Part of their work is to put across to audiences the value of helping their community since the program is also anchored on the ideas of empowering local communities and them becoming a voice in moving people to action.

Also joining Sarah in the program are Zamboanga-based co-anchor Argie Ramos, Cagayan de Oro-based co-anchor Cyril Chaves, and Davao-based co-anchors Jandi Esteban, Sheillah Vergara-Rubio and Rgil Relator.

“I’m thankful that we are given the platform and the voice to represent the culture and our own beliefs,” said Argie, who gladly reads reports that show the other side of the usual narrative about Mindanao. Through One Mindanao segments like Fiesta Mindanao, he added that the newscast is able to present interesting and inspiring stories about Muslim culture, beliefs of Islam, festivals and celebrations like hariraya. The program thrives because the people behind it are from this particular region.

“It’s very important that the TV personality or journalist comes from the area, (who is dispatched) to cover,” said Cyril. “He or she is familiar with the place and what’s happening in the community. He or she knows the issues that people deal with and what they need in the area.” The work of One Mindanao media personalities is also in line with GMA 7’s Serbisyong Totoo, added he, which makes them a bridge in giving people voices, connecting them with proper government agencies and securing social services they need.

As a local newscast, One Mindanao is also there to craft stories about development, from infrastructure projects and their socio-economic impacts, to efforts made by the present administration in the area. It features content on Mindanao’s culture, tourism and its happy, heartwarming and hospitable people.

(For details on GMA Regional TV, visit www.gmaregionaltv.com and follow GMA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gmanetwork and GMA Regional TV at www.facebook.com/GMARegionalTV and on Twitter and Instagram via @GMARegionalTV.)





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