On Sunday, June 25, three decades after it pioneered documentary, news magazine, and public service programs in the Philippines, GMA Public Affairs looks back on some of its most unforgettable reports to discover the positive transformations these helped bring about in “Sa Serbisyong Totoo, Nabago Ang Buhay Ko.”
Hosted by GMA News pillar Jessica Soho, “Sa Serbisyong Totoo, Nabago Ang Buhay Ko” features some of the most powerful stories told by shows produced by GMA Public Affairs and how these stories changed the lives of the people involved.
I-Witness’ 2009 documentary “Ambulansyang de Paa” gave viewers a visual of an ambulance as it makes its way down a steep mountain, carrying a patient who has never seen a doctor in his life. Yet the “ambulance” is nothing more than a hammock, transported on foot by residents desperate to get medical aid. In the documentary, one-year-old John Lloyd was but skin and bones. The make-shift ambulance-on-foot in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro served as his only lifeline.
Today, John Lloyd is in much better health, starting his second year in elementary school. He says there is now a health center nearby, and parts of the once-rugged road have been paved for better access to basic services.
Ten years before John Lloyd’s story aired, Brigada Siete’s 1999 documentary “Batang Alipin” brought to light the situation of laborers working in slave-like conditions inside a vinegar factory. One of the youngest workers rescued was 15-year-old Zaldy.
Eighteen years later, Zaldy now has his own family and works as a mechanic. After being freed from his harrowing experience as a child, Zaldy says he is determined to secure a better life for his own children.
In 2013, GMA News TV’s Reel Time told the heart-wrenching story of 10-year-old Mary Rose in the documentary “Salat.” Never knowing when the next meal would come, Mary Rose and her siblings were severely malnourished.
The documentary saw an outpouring of generosity for the family. Mary Rose is now fourteen and in the pink of health. Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Mary Rose has been able to continue her schooling and is now in her second year of high school.
Many more stories of hope and transformation abound. Pioneering public service program Wish Ko Lang has been instrumental in reuniting long-lost family members. Twins Judy and Danica, who were separated at birth, saw each other again for the first time in thirty years through the wish-granting program.
Bringing family members together has also been an advocacy of public service program Imbestigador, which has facilitated countless rescues of trafficked women and children, including those from Sabah, Malaysia.
For years, flagship Public Affairs Program Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho and long-running issues-oriented program Reporter’s Notebook relentlessly followed the stories of those devastated by Supertyphoon Yolanda. Four years later, GMA Public Affairs meets the families of Marvin and Raphael building a new life in their new homes.
And there are many more tales of transformation behind GMA Public Affairs’ thirty years on the air.
After four George Foster Peabody Awards, 11 New York Festival Gold Medals and three Emmy nominations, GMA Network remains the most internationally-awarded in Philippine Television through its News and Public Affairs programs. More than any accolade, however, the stories of those whose lives have been changed by public service programming remain the greatest reward.
This Sunday (June 25), watch how GMA Public Affairs helped changed the lives of people, one story at a time. “Sa Serbisyong Totoo, Nabago Ang Buhay Ko” hosted by Jessica Soho airs on GMA’s SNBO.
(Photo and press release from GMA Network)