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‘Batibot’ returns for second season

Abner Delina and Kakki Teodoro with 'Batibot' muppets (Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images)Abner Delina and Kakki Teodoro with 'Batibot' muppets (Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images)In the midst of all the controversies surrounding children's rights, the show which had clearly set the standards on how minors should be treated on TV is returning for its second season.

Batibot which means "small but sturdy" is living up to its name as it battles its way alongside foreign and other locally made alternative children's programming.

"Batibot is an old Tagalog word that means 'small but sturdy.' Maliit pero matibay. Many, many years ago when we were looking for a word that represents Filipino children that was the word that we found. It also refers to the (Batibot) tree...Mababa rin yung punong yun pero matibay. For us it represents our aspiration that all Filipino children will be resilient individuals," Feny delos Angeles-Bautista, Philippine Children's Television Foundation Executive Director and Batibot Executive Producer said during the Batibot's press conference held at the Fun Ranch last week.

The new Batibot differs from other children's television programs in the sense that it focuses on values specific to Filipino culture.

"Ang Batibot ngayon, natatangi siyang palabas na pang telebisyon sa bata na sinasalamin niya yung mga mahahalaga sa buhay ng mga Pilipino na hindi naman pinag-uusapan o hindi mo makikita sa ibang bahagi ng telebisyon. So in a way pwede siyang tingnan na parang pahinga dun sa mga bagay na puro tungkol sa ibang kultura o hango sa ibang kultura, may pakiramdam siyang 'Ah amin 'to,'" explained Bautista. "It's all about content. Aside from the choice of theme na relevant sa buhay nila, it's also about how we respectfully communicate with them. We treat children as intelligent human beings. We talk to them in the language they comprehend and we communicate with them, we know equally well that they are intelligent enough to understand but at the same time we must be responsible enough to provide the right balance of detail," she added.

Meanwhile TV5 Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Roberto V. Barreiro expressed the network's continuous support for "Batibot."

"We at TV5 felt it was high time for today's children to have a share of the Batibot experience their parents enjoyed during their youth. We're very happy with the show's successful comeback. For something as intrinsic to Pinoy culture as Batibot, it deserves to continue its worthwhile advocacy to teaching good values to our children in the most entertaining way," he said.

Bautista also hopes that advertisers will support TV5's initiative to broadcast locally produced children's programs.

"I'm hoping that advertisers will reinforce TV5's investment in one of only three locally produced [children's] programs...Everything else is imported. When Batibot went off the air eight years ago it was 70 percent local, 30 percent imported tapos everything began to die a natural death. Now that we're back we hope that it's also indicative of maybe a new resurgence of local Filipino children's television."

With Kuya Fidel, (Abner Delina), Ate Maya (Kakki Teodoro) and muppets Kapitan Basa, Manang Bola, Ning Ning, Ging Ging, Koko Kwik-kak and its new cast, Batibot returned for its second season last Saturday, May 7, 8:30 a.m. on TV5. Aside from its Saturday programming "Batibot"  will be airing 3-5 short programs on weekdays at 9:00 a.m. and 2:55 p.m.

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