MANILA, September 10, 2003  (STAR) By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes  - It is now very clear that GMA Network Inc. is not going to change its mind as to its decision to withdraw its membership from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). In fact, GMA Network is set to hold a series of dialogues with concerned parties, including its advertising partners to explain its actions and advocate common interests.

GMA withdrew its membership from the KBP through a letter from its chairman, president and CEO Felipe Gozon dated Sept. 1. Prior to the withdrawal, Gozon held a dialogue with KBP chair Cerge Remonde and executive director Rey Hulog to declare GMA’s intention to cease its membership from the organization. During the meeting, Gozon explained that the KBP was born out of the need of the Martial Law regime to give the perception that there was still freedom of the press in the country through the regulation of broadcast media by the KBP.

Now that full freedom of the press and the free enterprise system under a free competitive environment prevail, the regulatory functions of the KBP would no longer be necessary and would only duplicate the regulations done by government agencies like the NTC, MTRCB, the courts with respect to libel, and others.

Gozon also explained that as a voluntary trade or industry organization the KBP should focus and concentrate on promoting the common interest of its members, like what the PCCI, the Makati Business Club, and the trade organizations do.

Reacting to KBP’s position that it will not take action on GMA’s withdrawal from the organization until after the pending cases against GMA are completed, GMA assistant vice-president for legal affairs Dick Perez explained that because the KBP is a voluntary trade organization, a member can voluntarily withdraw from it and that since withdrawal is a unilateral act, it needs no acceptance for it to take effect. Perez adds that the KBP’s position on GMA’s withdrawal is an undue restriction of GMA’s right not to join an association, which is included in the right to join one.

The pending cases against GMA include one against Startalk host Rosanna Roces for obscene statements made on air, one against broadcaster Mike Enriquez for lambasting rival station ABS-CBN on air, and one involving commercial overloading. According to Perez, while the KBP earlier imposed upon GMA a one-year suspension on KBP privileges based on violations found by its Standards Authority (SA) to have allegedly been committed by Rosanna Roces , the decision has not yet become final since GMA filed a motion for reconsideration.

He also countered that in contrast, ABS-CBN was not even investigated by the KBP for the admitted and published similar violations of the TV Code by Willie Revillame and its other hosts. Perez emphasized that with GMA’s withdrawal from the KBP, the penalty of suspension in the Rosanna Roces case, which is temporary, now becomes irrelevant and without practical effect.

As to the commercial overloading case filed by the KBP SA against GMA, Perez said that the KBP has rarely and selectively enforced the no-overloading rule over the years and is now seeking to enforce the rule without prior notice to GMA. He stressed that the KBP had not enforced the overloading rule while another network was then openly violating it. It will be very interesting to find out how the KBP leadership Hidden Agenda and the Ad Board will react to GMA’s explanation.

A Costly Decision

GSIS top honcho Winston Garcia’s decision to change the office’s headquarters floorings from carpet to tiles may end up to be very costly.

Sources from the grapevine revealed that cracks developed in the building after the change from carpet to tiles because the weight of the tiles was not considered when the structure was put up. After the structural test, it was recommended that the tiles be removed and that carpets be reinstalled instead.

How true is it that a friend of Garcia’s wife was the one who convinced them to install the tiles and is now being hired to put in the carpets? Some guys have all the luck.

Changing Landscape

Pure Gold’s Lucio Co has reportedly bought the COD property in Cubao where he intends to put up a department store/supermarket. Yes, the same COD which used to have one of the most beautiful Christmas displays and where our parents used to bring us to watch the moving display until our neck hurt.

But it is not only the historic‚ COD that is going. Sometime March next year, the Araneta Group will be soft-launching a P3.5 billion supermall beside the Araneta Coliseum. The mall will be linked to LRT2 and MRT 3. Farmer’s Plaza will remain and will cater to the lower segment (C, D) of the market, but the Farmer’s Market may have to be transferred somewhere else. Rustan’s Supermarket may relocate inside the supermall (let’s hope that they include the department store).

As a resident of Quezon City, I welcome an alternative to the Ortigas malls where the huge crowds and the inadequate parking space have become a major headache for shoppers and those who just want to relax.

For comments, e-mail at rmaryannl@yahoo.com

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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