Henry Omaga-Diaz: The quintessential journalist

KAPAMILYA DAY - Kane Errol Choa - The Philippine Star
Henry Omaga-Diaz: The quintessential journalist

The name Henry Omaga-Diaz was all over social media last Oct. 4, when ABS-CBN News announced that the seasoned broadcast journalist was returning as co-anchor of the network’s flagship newscast TV Patrol.

After the story broke, messages of congratulations poured in for Henry, who has been with ABS-CBN for almost 30 years, starting as a radio reporter before venturing to television reporting.

Lynda Jumilla-Abalos, a fellow veteran reporter who currently heads ABS-CBN News Digital, called his return to TV Patrol as a “a well-deserved, long-overdue recognition!” in a Twitter post.

The biggest compliment of all came from the head of ABS-CBN News Ging Reyes, who described Henry as the “quintessential journalist,” whose exemplary body of work and unquestionable integrity are a dream for any aspiring media practitioner or reporter at the beginning of his or her young career.

The veteran broadcast journalist returns to TV Patrol, joining news anchors Bernadette Sembrano and Noli de Castro.

Apart from serving as an anchor for various ABS-CBN newscasts like TV Patrol (2001 to 2003), TV Patrol Weekend (2004 to 2006) and Bandila (2006 to 2009), Henry is known for his investigative reports on anomalies in the government and injustices in society for ABS-CBN News, and current affairs programs like XXX and Krusada.

In 2012, his expose on the scam by a Malaysian-based recruitment agency that lured hundreds of OFWs, who were then subjected to slave-like conditions, led to government investigations. In 2016, his two-part investigative story on the planned eviction of cancer-stricken children in CHILD HAUS caught the public’s attention and then President Aquino, who ordered the proper transfer of the residents.

Despite all his big stories and achievements, his latest assignment still gives him an incredible high like no other, as TV Patrol remains the newscast of choice for many Filipinos even after the shutdown of the network’s broadcast operations.

“After 17 years, biruin mo ‘yan, babalik ka sa TV Patrol as one of the anchors. Akala mo okay ka na sa career mo, nagawa mo na lahat, pagkatapos biglang isang araw, kailangan mong bumalik ng Patrol. Wow. Isang napakalaking karangalan,” Henry shared.

One of the things he cherished most about joining the newscast this time is the chance to deliver the day’s biggest headlines alongside Bernadette Sembrano-Aguinaldo, his co-anchor before in TV Patrol Weekend and Noli “Kabayan” de Castro, his mentor.

“Si Kabayan, noon pa lang naguumpisa ako at sinasanay bilang news anchor, andyan na siya. Ultimo maliliit na bagay ‘yung kulay ng suot ko pinapansin niya, ‘yung pag-deliver ko, ‘yung pananagalog ko. Marami siyang mga advice na binibigay sa akin para sa aking kapakanan. Kaya ngayon, makakasama mo mismo si Kabayan, ay talagang fulfillment ng isang panaginip,” said Henry.

Just like his mentor “Kabayan,” Henry sees no end in his storied career yet as his drive to serve the public remains strong as ever.

“Ang motivation ko lamang ay ‘yung makapag-serbisyo sa tao. Kahit na lumiit ‘yung platform, ang importante eh nakakapag-connect kami sa mga tao na naniniwala pa rin sa tunay na pagbabalita,” he said.

Henry is known for his investigative reports on anomalies in the government and injustices in society.

For Henry, no shutdown or pandemic can stop journalists like him from fulfilling their calling. And even as his main task is to present the news, he will remain active in pursuing stories that will expose wrongdoing, enlighten people  and hopefully spark change in the country.

“Hindi porke news anchor ka wala ka nang pakialam sa pag-develop ng storya. Mas maganda kasi at nakikita ng tao kung naiintindihan mo ‘yung ibinabalita mo. In that sense, patuloy pa rin ‘yung paghahanap ng mga istorya, paghahanap ng katotohanan sa mga balita,” said Henry, the quintessential journalist.

Watch Henry on TV Patrol every 6:30 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays on Kapamilya Channel, ANC and TeleRadyo on cable, and online via iWantTFC and various ABS-CBN News digital platforms. He also anchors Omaga-Diaz Report Saturdays and Sundays at 6 p.m. on TeleRadyo.

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