“The format of the show (‘Eat Bulaga’) has evolved. They have advocacies. They don’t just do it for entertainment,” said Imelda Dakis, executive assistant of University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Office of the Secretary General, which organizes the USTv Students’ Choice Awards.
“‘Eat Bulaga’ won (the Students’ Choice Award for Variety Show) last year not because of Joey de Leon or whoever, but because of the [advocacies and] purpose of the program. Nagko-collect sila ng plastic bottles, at meron silang (iba pang) mga advocacies,” Dakis told the Inquirer at the USTv Awards press launch.
She added, “Ang ganda ng tinuturo. Makikita mo ’yung fairness, respect for players, contestants and cohosts.”
Dakis also mentioned ABS-CBN’s popular drama “Be Careful with My Heart” as one of last year’s winners that teach important values. “Negative issues are corrected in every episode.”
Dakis said the 40,000-strong UST student population, through the USTv Awards, has positively influenced the quality of TV shows. “If they (TV networks) know a reputable institution, especially a Catholic institution like UST, is watching their programs, they will be more careful with what they show.”
She explained, “Conceptualization pa lang ng program isasaisip na nila ang audience nila. They become more aware of what the young really want.”
According to Dakis, UST students even have subjects on how to appreciate and critique TV shows. “Natuturuan na ang mga bata na mag-assess at mag-evaluate ng mga palabas ngayon. TV networks are more aware that there is a (segment of the) population, a regular audience that patronizes them.”
Now on its 10th year, the USTv Awards is the first student award- giving body in the country. Various schools have followed suit and have their own annual awards.
The organizers expect 35,000 students to vote this year, more than 50 percent compared to the 22,000 who voted last year. Any UST student, from first year high school to graduate and med school, can vote online. The USTv Awards will be held on Feb. 20, 2014 at UST’s Quadricentennial Pavilion.
Some of the Students’ Choice Awards are for best news program, Catholic feature, reality/game show, variety show, drama program and foreign drama program.
Dakis marvels at how sophisticated and discerning kids today are with TV shows. “They make better choices now.”