‘Eat Bulaga’ controversy sets tongues wagging

    As June comes to an end, we can’t help but sit up and think there’s something that bothers us.

    What many among us consider as more important —  love of country and pride in the National Hero Jose Rizal —seem to have been pushed aside in the national consciousness.

    “People’s attention this month has been drawn to the controversy generated by ‘Eat Bulaga’ or EB,” said Restituto S. de Jesus, a Filipino community leader working at the Saudi International Trading Company (SITCO) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    Added Toowoomba-based  (Australia) Roberto Garcia, “That shouldn’t be the case but it has happened.”

    Garcia is the president of the Filipino-Australian Business, Industry and Communities Council of Queensland, Inc. (FABICCQ) in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.

    Since TVJ (Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon) announced taking a break from the long-running television program Eat Bulaga! (leaving the show), we’ve read and heard much about the controversy more than the celebration of Flag Day (May 28) leading to the 125th Independence Day celebration (June 12), Father’s Day (June 18) and Rizal’s birth anniversary (June 19).

    Observance of the historic events were reported by the national dailies but stories on the Eat Bulaga! controversy continues.

     The issue has hogged tabloid headlines and talk show hosts continue to prattle on about it. We have become, so to speak, a “Marites” or gossiper nation.

    Jun L. Nacion, retired OFW (overseas Filipino worker) and former community leader in Riyadh, said, “It’s a dig at us but we can’t help but ask, ‘Does this define us as a nation?’”

     The brewing controversy started as rumors days before it was brought out into the open. According to TVJ, the studio did not allow them to film their live show on May 31.

    As a result, according to an EB source, the show effectively ended, at least the format that viewers have become accustomed to during its 40-plus years on TV.

   The show announced recently that TVJ had parted ways with their production company, Television and Production Exponent (TAPE), Inc. It was reported that TAPE planned to retire or replace some of the hosts.

   In a video on the show’s YouTube channel, former senator Tito said in Filipino, “We arrived …  for work but were forbidden to air live by the new management.” TVJ expressed their gratitude to both advertisers and fans for their loyalty to the show in its more than 40 years on the air.

    Although Tito did not say whether the show would continue, TVJ signed recently a contract with Mediaquest Holdings, Inc. for the production of content for TV5 and other Mediaquest platforms.

    The show would be aired on TV5 starting July 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

    “I’m honored that these pillars of the Philippine entertainment industry have agreed to work with us. Our partnership strengthens our ability to continue to deliver the best for Filipino viewers here at home and all over the world,“ said Mediaquest president and chief executive officer Jane Basas.

   TVJ, institutions in Philippine noontime television, resigned from TAPE, Inc. effective May 31.

    TAPE is owned by the Jalosjos family (75 percent) and Tony Tuviera (25 percent).

    The day after TVJ resigned, other hosts and staff members, including Jose Manolo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros, also left.

    De Leon conceived the title Eat Bulaga! for the show, which premiered on July 30, 1979. Production was formalized after a meeting at the InterContinental Hotel where Tuviera made an offer to Tito, Vic and Joey to host the new show. TVJ accepted and the first show was filmed at the RPN Live Studios in Broadcast City, Quezon City.

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