Mike Enriquez:  âA Kapuso  is somebody who has  a heart for the audienceâ
Over the years, Mike has been consistently recognized as one of the country’s most trusted broadcast journalists.

Mike Enriquez: ‘A Kapuso is somebody who has a heart for the audience’

KAPUSO DAY - Angel Javier Cruz (The Philippine Star) - March 12, 2020 - 12:00am

Twenty-five years in one job is a long time for many people. That’s a quarter of a century and it’s no small feat. For people like Mike Enriquez, 25 years is nothing.

“I don’t mean to sound patronizing but 25 years is such a short time if you’re having fun. That’s what, for me, working in GMA has been. It’s fun,” Mike said.

The veteran broadcaster has worked in the industry for close to 50 years but half that period was spent as a Kapuso. Mike juggles multiple roles — he’s an anchor for DZBB and 24 Oras, host of Imbestigador and president of Radio GMA. Radio and TV broadcasting duties start at 6 a.m. and sometimes go on until 9 p.m. Only then and in between programs he can devote time to his tasks as RGMA president.

As head of the radio business of GMA (with 27 stations nationwide), he is in charge of a team composed of about 600 people. “That’s 600 families that depend on us. And that doesn’t include the so-called downstream sectors that supply us, that partner with us.”

Thrice weekly, Mike undergoes dialysis treatments but heads back to work immediately after. “It’s just like taking an extended lunch break.” He compares the treatments though to being beaten up by world boxing champion-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao.

Mike, however, discovered that work, indeed, does magic for him in order to recover faster. “I found out that just like the bypass operation I had more than a year ago, the best approach to this is several things: Prayer, faith, sense of humor and work.”

“I always try not to make my health and physical situation get the better of me. Because as my cardiologist, Dr. Dante Morales, who is also the father of 24 Oras co-anchor Vicky Morales, said ‘Mike, marami ka pang ibubuga.’”

Being one of the top newsmen of the network, Mike has racked up his share of “war stories” — coverages and experiences that have affected him and left him with myriad, indelible marks.

“One of the first stories we did for Imbestigador was about a three-year-old girl named Kaye Lazaro who was sleeping in her house in Makati one afternoon when she was hit by a stray bullet fired by a policeman. He was drinking with some people two blocks away in the middle of the afternoon. I personally did that story until that policeman was made to face justice.”

Mike also recalled another experience while doing a live broadcast in Payatas. “I covered the Payatas Tragedy when a mountain of trash fell on the houses of residents there after heavy rainfall. In the middle of the rubble, we noticed a girl, alone and seated on the side of the road, crying. I asked, ‘Hija, what’s the problem?’ She replied, ‘Please help me find my mother and sister. It’s my birthday today.’”

When he heard her say that, Mike told his cameraman to turn off the camera so they could help the girl. “We never found her mother or sister. I was told later on that they were among the casualties lined up at the barangay hall or covered court.”

Another memorable coverage was the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005. “There were two huge banners at the St. Peter’s Square printed with ‘Santo Subito’ which means ‘Make him a saint fast’ and now he is St. John Paul II. I was in Rome for a little over a week to cover the funeral.”

His coverage of the war in the Middle East is something that Mike will also never forget.

After covering the war in Iraq, he was sent to Kuwait. This time, however, he was on his own; his supposed companion hadn’t renewed his passport although he already had a visa to travel to Kuwait.

“I was my own cameraman, lights man and editor. One morning, when I was typing out a story in my hotel room on the 10th floor, a missile exploded. It blew up in an upscale mall.

“I grabbed my camera and went down the stairs. I ran towards where the explosion was. And then — I will never forget this feeling — as I was running closer to the mall, people were running away from it. It struck me: ‘Oh my god, people are running away from it and I’m running towards it. There must be something crazy about this job!’ Kasi you didn’t know if that was the first of several missiles.”

By the time he entered the mall, part of the ceiling had collapsed and areas were in ruins. Many of the crew in the restaurants were Filipinos. “When they saw me with my camera, they shouted my name and said, ‘Shoot us! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Take videos and show it back home so that our families will know that we are fine.’ That’s when I realized this is what this job is all about.”

This zest for the job, this passion has helped make his years at GMA go by so swiftly. Last month, Mike renewed his contract with the network.

“In the words of our chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe L. Gozon, the contract is merely a formality. What is important is you have a clear understanding of a relationship and that both parties are into the partnership. When it’s that way, you don’t measure your tenure in terms of years, how much you’re getting paid or how much you’re bringing into the company,” Mike said.

He may consider 25 years a short time working in one company, but Mike has managed to build up a treasure trove of life lessons that he is willing to share to cub reporters.

“Be passionate about your work. Your work is not just about reporting. Your work is about the truth. Also, in the rare times that I accept speaking engagements before students, I tell them you must have a passion for your work and most of all, you must have a passion for truth. This profession is about the truth. I don’t consider this a job. I consider this a vocation — a calling.”

As GMA Network celebrates its 70th year this year, Mike reiterates what he has been saying from the start, that a Kapuso is “somebody who has a heart for the audience. We wake up in the morning and will go to sleep at night for them. And even the young ones who are about to enter the industry, they must realize that we are not here for ourselves.”

Mike believes that he remains loyal with the network because his personal values and those of GMA as a company are aligned with each other.

“I consider that a blessing from the Lord — He could have put me in some other network, or He could have made GMA get some other guy. But I guess it’s a mixture of divine providence and coincidence.”

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