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70-Year-Old GMA Network Says It Didn’t Violate 50-Year Franchise Cap

The network issued a statement to clarify matters.
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GMA Network Incorporated insists it has not violated the broadcast limit of 50 years granted to broadcast companies by a congressional franchise. 

In a statement issued Friday, June 19, GMA Network said it was granted a congressional franchise to operate first in 1992, and then in 2017, each one for 25-year terms. 

“It is important to clarify that in both instances, GMA was granted by law 25 years each to operate its radio and television business which do not exceed 50 years,” the network said.

Founded in 1950 as Loreto F. de Hemedes, Inc. (later changed to Republic Broadcast System or RBS), GMA first obtained a franchise under Act No. 3846 and later under Presidential Decree 576-A.

RBS was granted a new 25-year franchise to operate under Republic Act No. 7252 in 1992, and then a new 25-year franchise under Republic Act No. 10925 in 2017 as GMA Network Inc.

GMA was apparently reacting to a pronouncement made by SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, who had earlier raised the 50-year limit issue during the franchise renewal hearing of GMA’s rival ABS-CBN Corp,

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ABS-CBN is still off the air after it was shut down by the National Telecommunications Commission for having an expired broadcast license. Hearings to renew its congressional franchise are ongoing.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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