CMFR Monitor of Coverage of the 2010 Elections: Cebu's Bisaya Dailies (Feb. 10-27)

Written on March 11, 2010 – 8:59 pm | by mediaandelections |


For 2010, CMFR is monitoring the coverage of the national elections, but has also entered into a partnership with the Cebu Citizens Press Council to include a monitor of the Cebu press’s coverage of both the national and local elections.

The Cebu newspapers monitored (Banat, Cebu Daily News, SunStar Cebu, SunStar SuperBalita, and The Freeman) by the CCPC team were noticeably focused on the local rather than the national elections. Although the presidential elections did receive attention, these still came in second in terms of number of reports. Some reports were also on the presidential, vice presidential, senatorial and party list elections, but in general these reports were fewer and far between compared to those on Cebu’s local elections. Significantly, the Cebu press also reported on local elections in other provinces, indicating an understandable preferential bias for the proximate and the more immediately relevant.

The Bisaya-language dailies in Cebu monitored from February 10 to 27 were SunStar SuperBalita and Banat. The pages monitored were the front and inside pages including the main news sections, “Gawas sa Sugbo/Dinhi-Dito/Nasod (outside Cebu/Nation) and Komunidad (Community) sections, except the sports, entertainment/showbiz, and world news sections.

The Bisaya dailies have a starkly different readership compared to the local English dailies in Cebu. Smaller in format and with fewer pages, they carry less advertisements but have a bigger readership base composed mainly of tricycle, Jeepney and taxi drivers, vendors, security guards, rural people, workers.

From February 10 to 27, Cebu’s Bisaya dailies allotted 22% of their news pages for election-related reports (122 election-related reports out of 543 news stories). SuperBalita had 64 election-related reports or 26% of its news hole, while Banat had 58 election-related reports or 19% of its news hole.


Focus/Election-Related Area

SuperBalita and Banat focused more on the local elections with 57 reports, followed by “Elections in general” (33) and the presidential election (30). Less attention was given to the senatorial (10), party-list (8), and vice-presidential (7) elections. Local elections outside Cebu were also reported mainly because of their subjects (i.e. the Mangudadatus and Ampatuans of Maguindanao, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Lilia Pineda and Governor Ed Panlilio of Pampanga).



For the first two weeks of election coverage, the Bisaya dailies followed the campaign trail which included sorties and other campaign activities of the candidates, producing a total of 52 reports with this theme. Not even close were reports about Comelec rules, issuances and activities with 25 reports, and the Contest/Horse race with 22 reports. Aside from the theme “Campaign,” SuperBalita also focused on the Contest/Horse race (14) while Banat also focused on Development/Policy issues (18).

In the 20 reports about Development/Policy Issues mostly found in Banat, the top five issues were peace and order (5), corruption (4), the environment (4), poverty (3), and agriculture (3). Notably sidelined were the issues on education (0) and the economy (1), which were the top two most-reported policy issues in the Cebu English dailies.

The least covered themes in this period were The ‘Arroyo’ factor (4), Civil society and elections (5), Complaints/reports of irregularities (7), and Poll automation (8).


Development Policy Issues


The Comelec was the most frequently reported news subject in the Bisaya dailies (36 reports), followed by the Philippine National Police (31 reports).

Of the candidates for president, Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. (18) was the most frequently reported news subject, followed by Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. (13), and Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III (12). The rest were not reported at all. Among the political parties in these elections, the Nacionalista party was the news subject in 16 reports, the administration Lakas-Kampi CMD party in nine (9), and the Liberal party in seven (7). There was scarce reporting about the vice presidential and senatorial race. Both candidates for vice president Loren Legarda and Manuel “Mar” Roxas appeared as subjects in only five (5) news reports.

On the local scene, the resulting tension after the proclamation by the courts of Augusto Corro (15) as the rightful winner in the 2007 election for mayor attracted media attention to the town of Daanbantayan in northern Cebu, a potential election hotspot with a history of election-related violence. Other primary subjects in this story were Daanbantayan mayor Sun Shimura (15), Shimura’s mother, Vice Mayor Ma. Luisa Loot (11), and Loot’s husband Sr. Supt. Vicente Loot, Jr.. Other related news subjects in the tensions at the north were Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez, Jr. and his political rival, Fourth district representative Benhur Salimbangon.

Among the party-list groups, only the Cebu-based and anti-communist group Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) became a news subject, notably six (6) times in Banat, of which three (3) reports were positively slanted in ANAD’s favor.


News Subjects

The top news source in the election-related reports of the Bisaya dailies was the Comelec (31), followed by the PNP (16), and Augusto Corro (12). Notably, the partylist group ANAD topped all other traditionally more prominent sources of election-related news like the survey frontrunners in the presidential race and local candidates in the city and province. Bisaya dailies usually do not substantially source their stories from the wires or national news agencies, so perhaps the only time national candidates were interviewed was when they had campaign sorties in Cebu.

Unlike in the English dailies, both Cebu City mayoral candidate Alvin Garcia (3) and congressional candidate Jonathan “Atan” Guardo (5) were ahead of their respective incumbent rivals Vice Mayor Mike Rama (0) and Mayor Tomas Osmeña (2) in the number of times they were sought as news sources.

News Sources


Majority of the election-related reports of the two Cebu Bisaya dailies were neutral at 70%. That means 86 out of 122 election-related reports from February 10 to 27 were neutral. Most of the reports had adequate background at 75%. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of SuperBalita’s election-related reports were neutral. Banat, on the other hand, had 64% neutral election-related reports. Therefore, Cebu’s English dailies were more neutral (86%) than the Bisaya dailies (70%) for the first two weeks of election coverage.

Of the reports coded as slanted, there were 28 positively slanted reports compared to nine (9) negatively slanted reports. Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro had the most number of positively slanted reports (5), followed by Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino, Jr. (4), and ANAD party-list (4). Meanwhile, three (3) reports about Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña were seen as negatively slanted against him.

Neutral Reports

Neutral v Slanted Reports



(To see report in MS Word, please click here. A PDF copy is available here.)

CMFR Monitor of the News Media Coverage of 2013 Elections

Given the special nature of the 2013 campaign and elections, the media’s role as credible and critical sources of information and analysis during the election season bears watching. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is monitoring the news media coverage of the 2013 campaign and elections in the context of both the special circumstances in which they were taking place, and the opportunity for improved and meaningful reporting and analysis the exercise offered to the Philippine media. 

CMFR has been monitoring media coverage of Philippine elections since 1992, and in every instance has made recommendations towards the improvement of media coverage. These efforts have not been unrewarded. Changes in media coverage incorporating some of the recommendations of the CMFR monitor in 2004 were evident, for example, in the media coverage of the 2007 elections.

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