Bitag (lit. 'Trap') is an investigative and public service program hosted by Ben Tulfo and produced by Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. (formerly BST Tri-Media Production) that airs in the Philippines. Launched on September 14, 2002, it first aired on ABC (now TV5) before moving the following year to IBC before returning again to TV5, before moving in 2012 to syndication on the government-owned PTV. It is currently aired on IBC every Saturday night from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Its success also spawned a recap (later talk) show that aired during weekday mornings on UNTV as Bitag Live, and simulcast on radio through DZME and DWUN. As of August 2017, Bitag Live is currently aired on PTV from 8:00 AM. to 9:00 AM. (UTC +08). The program is also streamed in various social media such as Facebook and Youtube.
|Created by||BITAG Media Unlimited Inc.|
|Directed by||Ben Tulfo|
|Country of origin||Philippines|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original release||September 14, 2002 –|
An episode usually contains 3 different cases set to stock film, music and industrial sound effects sardonically narrated by Ben before wrapping it up with an educational segment sponsored by PAGCOR. Bitag operates semi-autonomously, conducting reconnaissance and surveillance and deploys their own agents as undercovers. When enough intelligence is gathered, Ben coordinates with the local authorities to plan the manner of arrest and follows them with his convoy of security back-ups and camera men to document the entire procedure and its aftermath. In accordance with Ben's eschewal of "drama" and production in favor of "real reality", most cases air days after the shoot with minor cuts and editing used only to fit the documented footage under 10 minute segments. This is further proven by Ben's occasional absence in his AksyonTV show Bitag Live on weekdays, when he personally oversees certain case operations.
There are times where government agencies themselves invite BITAG to document an impending operation, popularly with drug raids. This has occurred several times in the show, and one instance united the four Tulfo broadcasters together.
The programs segments are classified according to their nature:
For safety reasons, the Bitag strike force is fully armed and trained in self-defense disciplines (including Ben Tulfo himself) and comprises professional security personnel. They are also allowed to carry their firearms in airplanes and vessels provided they surrender it prior to departure. However, the team still makes it a point to request assistance from the local authorities when dwelling in unfamiliar territory in accordance with the law.
Bitag was originally pitched to other TV networks but an unidentified "Tulfo" was opposed to it.
When the contract on IBC expired, Ben Tulfo did not renew. Since the programming of the network has changed to sports (AKTV on IBC), Bitag was forced to move to UNTV's Saturday night slot. Ben Tulfo eventually moved his TV show to AksyonTV, the sister channel of his former network, TV5. He teamed up with his other brothers from the other stations and made a TV show called T3: Reload (renamed from T3: Kapatid Sagot Kita following the infamous tirade to Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto regarding the assault of elder brother Ramon in May 2012, and now known as T3: Alliance).
On October 14, 2011, he officially returned to TV5, replacing Totoo TV. Another spin-off premiered on AksyonTV entitled Pinoy US Cops Ride Along where it chronicles the operations of Filipino police officers in the United States. Both Bitag and Pinoy US Cops later moved to PTV, albeit in a producer's cut variety and in broadcast syndication, while the UNTV version continued to air Fridays in a commercial-free tandem with Pinoy US Cops: Ride Along in a director's cut.
At the start of 2013, Bitag left UNTV due to internal issues. Bitag Live then found a home on 92.3 News FM and AksyonTV; furthermore the Bitag segment on T3: Reload was revived after it was renamed 'Caught in the Act' following the said program's reformat. Coincidentally, the said station also airs brothers Erwin and Raffy's own programs Punto Asintado and Wanted sa Radyo respectively, as well as T3: Reload, all of which also simulcast on radio through DWFM.
In its Aksyon TV incarnation, it is an all-discussion segment where Ben Tulfo freely discusses relevant issues exclusively. It has since been extended all the way to social media, prominently in the program's Facebook presence, to reach out to Filipinos overseas.
The show stayed in TV5 until moving out of the station and returned to PTV 4 until July 6, 2019, and presently, returned to IBC 13 on September 7, 2019.