MANILA—By the end of Thursday’s “TV Patrol”, the first time the news program was streamed live in full on Facebook, news anchor Bernadette Sembrano said: “Patuloy kaming maglilingkod, mga Kapamilya.”
It’s a line she usually says at the end of every newscast. Given the current circumstances, that promise took on a more comforting tone, especially to millions of Filipinos who rely on ABS-CBN for their daily news fix.
How much “TV Patrol” was missed was evident in the number of people who watched the stream.
More than 7 million views, Facebook counted right after it aired, with hundreds of thousands more on YouTube. Its return also became the most talked about topic on Twitter locally.
As they watched the “TV Patrol” news team, Kapamilyas across the country shared pictures of them tuning in through their smartphones —some mirrored the show on their TVs— with their families, over dinner, just like before. The overall sentiment was that of gratitude.
But those without reliable internet access were left out, a fact that puts into question the National Telecommunications Commission's decision ordering ABS-CBN's broadcast capabilities to stop. At a time when information is vital in saving lives against COVID-19, why close one avenue to get crucial guidelines out?
The "TV Patrol" stream was viewed by some as an act of defiance, anchored on the network's manta: “In the service of the Filipino.”