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Pandemic TV show bows out

Rhodina Villanueva, Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Pandemic TV show bows out
Stock image shows a television.
Unsplash / Glenn Carstens-Peters

MANILA, Philippines — The pandemic-era public service program “Laging Handa” of state-run People’s Television (PTV) will air its final episode today and will be replaced by a show titled “Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon.”

“Laging Handa,” an hour-long program that serves as a platform for government officials to discuss their policies and to answer questions about pressing issues, will go off the air as part of PTV’s reprogramming.

A new program with a similar format titled “Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon” will premiere on Monday and will be shown in the noon to 1 p.m. timeslot.

A news article posted on PTV’s website described “Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon” as a “multi-agency public forum” that would tackle issues and address questions on frontline services from the public and the media. It will be hosted by former ABS-CBN reporter and now Radyo Pilipinas anchor Niña Corpuz.

“Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon” highlights the Bagong Pilipinas (new Philippines) brand of governance launched by the Marcos administration last July and calls for a “deep and fundamental transformation in all sectors of society and government and fosters the government’s commitment towards the attainment of comprehensive policy reforms and full economic recovery.”

“Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon” is one of the new shows to be launched by PTV, which is embarking on a programming makeover as part of its goal to become the Philippines’ second leading station.

“Laging Handa” started in January 2020 as a Malacañang press briefing that provided updates on the eruption of Taal Volcano and other disasters.

It became a standalone show hosted by then presidential communications secretary Martin Andanar and broadcaster Rocky Ignacio two months later after the country was placed on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a recent press conference, PTV management said the state-run network is “aggressive” and has to balance news, culture, education, sports and entertainment content.

Other new PTV offerings include “Punto Asintado Reload,” which will air every 10 a.m. from Monday to Friday and will be hosted by lawmaker and broadcaster Erwin Tulfo; “On the Ground,” which will feature documentaries by Presidential Adviser on Creative Communications Paul Soriano; and “On Assignment,” a program hosted by Maan Macapagal and PTV correspondents that will present investigative stories.

400 Omicron cases

Meanwhile, over 400 Omicron subvariant cases of COVID-19 were recently detected in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.

In its latest Biosurveillance Report, the DOH said that out of the 476 samples sequenced by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center from Aug. 8 to Sept. 4, a total of 438 were classified to be under the Omicron sublineage.

The DOH said all detected XBB subvariant cases were local cases from all regions except Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Meanwhile, two were tagged as BA.2.3.20 cases from Western Visayas and Davao region.

There were also seven classified as other Omicron sublineages.

The 38 remaining samples were not assigned lineages.

The DOH said that despite the lifting of the state of public health emergency due to COVID-19, the public should remain vigilant and continuously safeguard their health as the virus continues to evolve and mutate.

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