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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Regine Velasquez: The network war is hurting artists

Regine Velasquez is hurting. And it’s not because she and boyfriend Ogie Alcasid are having a lovers’ quarrel. She’s hurting because the ongoing network war is putting artists like her in an awkward position. It’s positioning them right smack in the middle of the war they should have nothing to do with in the first place.

Just as painful, it’s depriving her and fellow artists the chance to work together and help shore up a flagging industry.

“The two giant networks (ABS-CBN and GMA 7) must complement and help each other,” she muses. “Our industry is a small one and it is dying. Now’s the time to join our hands instead of fighting each other.”

Regine was speaking at the presscon for ABS-CBN’s Maalaala Mo Kaya, which she will topbill with Albert Martinez this Friday, Feb. 22 (after Maging Sino Ka Man). And no one stood up to disagree with her.

It’s because her comments hit home, and it hit home with so much force and pain, one could almost hear a collective “ouch!” after Regine spoke her mind.

This must be the reason why she has opted to remain a freelancer until now, offers from ABS and GMA notwithstanding.

“I don’t want to be tied down to a contract so I can work with other artists, other producers,” she goes on. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time now.”

Regine thinks she is also speaking for her fellow artists, who she says, are just too happy to be working with each other, network war or not. In fact, she adds, they are just waiting for the right time to perform together in one dream project.

“After all,” Regine points out, “we artists have nothing to do with ratings. We shouldn’t get involved with the network war.”

They should instead focus on improving their craft and grow as artists. That’s why Regine is thankful to GMA (her contract with the network has expired) for allowing her to guest again on Maalaala, where she returns to dramatic acting as a tormented wife hounded by family problems.

Her director, Jeffrey Jeturian admits he had qualms about working with her at first. He hasn’t seen any of her movies. But he changed his mind after working with Regine for the first time.

“She’s got a certain style in delivering a line, yung simple lang pero it’s so heartfelt it stays with you,” he says.

Production manager Ginny Ocampo adds, “Whenever her schedule permits, we really make an effort to find a very good material for Regine. She’s very open to offbeat roles, even ones that deglamorize her.”

Regine’s first guesting on Maalaala, where she acted opposite Piolo Pascual, was so powerful she won a Best Actress trophy from the Star Awards for TV because of that.

She sunk her teeth into the mental retardate role up to the point where Regine worked as teacher aide in a school for special children for the role. Regine also interviewed a friend who teaches special kids.

Now that’s what Regine means when she says she goes where the challenge — not necessarily the money — lies. She admits showbiz is her bread and butter. But the decision as to what network will get her services doesn’t hinge on who the highest bidder is.

“I’m not greedy,” she explains. “At hindi ako nasisilaw sa pera. You can always earn money. What’s more important is your dignity as a person. You can’t buy that.”

Now, for the ticklish question: Is Regine dilly-dallying about signing up with ABS-CBN because Ogie, a GMA talent is preventing her from doing so?

Regine admits she is considering her boyfriend’s feelings allright. As it is, their hectic schedule hardly gives them time to see each other. If Regine signs up with ABS, she just might not see her boyfriend as much as she wants to anymore. And she will miss him like crazy the way she does when she is abroad performing.

But the final decision, she insists, will be hers and hers alone. It will not be that of other people, who don’t understand and this early are calling her an ingrate if she signs up with ABS.

Meanwhile, Regine is tickled pink at the fact that the two giant networks are dangling offers before her. And they’re not giving her a deadline so far. They’re allowing her to think long and hard before making her decision.

Now, which network will finally get Regine’s precious nod? Your guess is as good as mine. [source of news]

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