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ASAP Natin ‘To, FPJ Da King: The Symbolic Coming Together of TV5, A2Z Channel 11, ABS-CBN

The simultaneous airing of ASAP Natin ‘To and FPJ Da King via three TV networks in the country–marks a significant milestone in local television history.

It can be considered historic in Philippine television, the partnership between two media giants ABS-CBN and Media Quest Holdings, which happened on January 21 this year.

Two of Kapamilya programs–ASAP Natin ‘To and FPJ Da King, premiered on January 24 via TV5 as it simulcast on A2Z Channels 11, and on three ABS-CBN Cable ChannelsJeepney TV, Metro Channel, and Kapamilya Channel.

It is considered a historical event on Philippine television.

ASAP Natin ‘To, the country’s longest-running Sunday musical variety program, made its historic broadcast on five free-to-air chanels–TV5, A2Z Channels 11, and on three ABS-CBN Cable Channels.

The day also marked the first time the movies of cinema legend, Fernando Poe Jr. is aired simultaneously on TV5, A2Z 11, and ABS-CBN’s cable channels. It is a significant milestone in Philippine television’s nearly 70-year history. For its maiden offering, FPJ Da King on TV5 aired the 1990 FPJ Classic, Hindi Ka na Sisikatan ng Araw, the third and final installment of the hit movie trilogy, Kapag Puno na ang Salop, which, like most of the entries in Poe’s stellar filmography talked about championing the oppressed and fairness and vanquishing societal cancers like crime, unlawfulness, and tyranny. FPJ movies are social commentaries that perfectly represented the struggle to break free from the malignant socio-political problems, and the proliferation of violence in Philippine society.

His return to the television allowed many Filipino households to re-live the impact of FPJ’s films that practically got cut off in the wake of ABS-CBN’s shutdown. Its return on TV airwaves symbolizes the socio-political consciousness reawakening, which was tamed, if not shut off after the largest television network went off-air last year. Arguably, it caused a substantial shortage of news and information sources in the country. The closure of ABS-CBN’s expansive newsgathering workforce, consisting of at least 40 regional television stations, undermined information dissemination nationwide, which was made glaringly evident during the onslaught of strong typhoons in the last quarter of 2020. It has also presented challenges to the government in its campaign to deliver crucial life-saving information to far-flung areas about its relief and anti-pandemic efforts.

Like how most FPJ’s movies depict those who are to protect the law and the welfare of the country’s citizens–are sadly the likely oppressors. Those in power—the Philippine Congress, on ABS-CBN’s case—is deemed responsible for what could be a major attack on democracy, on freedom of speech, and the free press. ABS-CBN’s shutdown deprived many households of entertainment sources, including the movies of Fernando Poe Jr.

Despite the efforts of other free television stations–to step up to fill the humungous void left by ABS-CBN, the fact that most intended audiences remain unreachable by Kapamilya-produced programs due to A2Z’s and TV5’s limited reach. Such scenarios speak of volumes of persistent sabotage against the quest to championing the truth through entertainment programs that, one way or another, reflect social landscapes and air commentaries that may be detrimental to those who intend to maintain a tight grip on power. This observation, may be exaggerated but if there is one thing history taught us, it’s that many governments are largely motivated by people’s ignorance and that it is always wise to be cautious and vigilant.

image: Cignal Entertainment

The TV5-ABS-CBN partnership and the simultaneous airing of Kapamilya programs on almost every platform available reminds local audiences of the 1972 declaration of Martial Law; that resulted in the shutdown of all major television networks in the country, including ABS-CBN and TV5. ABS-CBN (being the oldest television station in the country) shares the most vividly tragic turns in Philippine television history with TV5 (formerly called ABC). After President Ferdinand Marcos ordered to sequester the two major TV players, along with other stations like GMA Network, RPN, and IBC. ZoeTV, A2Z’s parent company, was born in 1992; but its role in ABS-CBN’s efforts to return to Filipino homes can never be understated.

ASAP Natin ‘To showcases incredible Filipino talents, while FPJ Da King showcases the timeless masterpieces of the one and only King of Philippine Cinema, Fernando Poe Jr. 

The partnership that allowed the airing of Kapamilya shows is a testament and an incredible milestone in local TV history that marks the rivalry of at least three major broadcast entities in the country. It is a small but profound suggestion of how much power can come from unity when fighting oppressive measures meant to cut an efficient flow of information and delivery of entertainment services to Filipino families, here and abroad.

It is a small but profound suggestion of how much power can come from unity when fighting oppressive measures meant to cut the efficient flow of information and delivery of entertainment services to Filipino families, here and abroad.


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