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Safeguarding the national patrimony

TV5’s Yaman ng Bayan documentary series is hosted by (clockwise from top, left) Roby Alampay, Erwin Tulfo, Twink Macaraig, Paolo Bediones, Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Patrick Paez

At no time in our social and cultural scene has the topic of environment and natural resources conservation and preservation been more widely talked about than it is today. In a world being threatened by shortages in energy, food, water and even clean air, our government and especially our citizens need to be on alert and be aware of what is happening around them. Each of us must do our share in safeguarding the national patrimony not only for ourselves but, more importantly, for our children and their children as well.

This is the basic principle behind TV5’s new program, Yaman ng Bayan, a documentary series that explores our country’s natural resources and encourages us to make use of our resources responsibly to ensure their sustainability in the years ahead. The series showcases the best of “Yamang Lupa, Yamang Tubig at Yamang Tao” — our minerals, beaches, mountains, flora and fauna, marine life, arts and culture, among other natural resources that visitors from other countries have come to admire and enjoy. True to the axiom that one must see the country first before seeing the world, it is evident that ours is a world-class heritage in its diversity, richness and beauty. Not only is it more fun in the Philippines, it is also here that one can see the full wonders of nature, the resplendence of our more than 7,000 islands and the wonderful amalgam of cultures that led some observers to dub us as the “only Latin country in Asia.”

Yaman ng Bayan breaks new ground not only with its spectacular location shoots but also with its underlying educational intent — bringing to the broader Pinoy audience the knowledge and experience of watching informative documentaries only seen in National Geographic or Discovery Channel. This time, such quality program comes to free TV as part of your Kapatid network’s commitment to bring only the best to our Filipino viewers both at home and overseas. News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes shares,  “We are trying to differentiate. While (other networks) have News and Public Affairs or News and Current Affairs, we have News and Information, which equips the viewers with knowledge and information (instead) of the usual poverty porn.”

The series is hosted by TV5’s outstanding anchors, namely: Paolo Bediones and Erwin Tulfo for Yamang Lupa, Roby Alampay for Yamang Tubig and Patrick Paez and Twink Macaraig for Yamang Tao. They all can be seen every last Saturday of the month at 10:15 p.m. And in the coming months, we may also be seeing the short-film outputs of budding Filipino film and video students inspired by the Yaman ng Bayan series as News5, TV5’s News and Information arm, opens its doors to aspiring documentary filmmakers by launching a short film competition for college students. The entries must be inspired by Yaman ng Bayan, focusing on stories dealing with preserving and conserving the country’s natural resources and encouraging Filipinos to use our country’s patrimony responsibly.

The short film entries have to touch on the tagline “Ano ang yaman ng bayan mo?” and should relate to any of our natural resources: Land (majestic mountains, forest cover, fertile soil, energy source, precious metals and minerals); water (breathtaking beaches, underground rivers, marine life, dive sites, surfing, etc.); or people (diverse culture, world-class Pinoys, heroes and survivors of calamities, etc.). Entries must have five to eight minutes running time and in Filipino or a local dialect (with subtitles). All entries must be submitted on or before Sept. 1. A cash prize amounting to P25,000 awaits the first prize winner.

Yaman ng Bayan is just one of News5’s own brand of docu-series that delves on important issues of public concern and what ordinary citizens should know and do about them. Another News5’s docu with the same endeavor is Kaya, hosted by Cruz-Valdes, DJ Sta. Ana, Patrick Paez, Alampay and Macaraig. Kaya tackles the most relevant questions Filipinos ask: Can we really find a solution to traffic problems? Can endemic illnesses still be cured? Can we really rise above poverty? Is change really possible? As the title goes, yes, “Kaya.” (Yes, we can.) Kaya airs every Saturday at 10:15 p.m.

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In the early days of television, some scholars have used the term “idiot box” to underscore their criticisms on its lack of useful information and its overemphasis on entertainment. I think that Philippine television has evolved since then, and TV5 leads on its continuing search for relevance and for the audiences’ enlightenment in our day and age. After all, our country’s best resource is its aware and motivated citizens — a hundred million strong now, and counting. Imagine what the world can be when this sleeping giant stirs up to take its rightful place in the family of nations.

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