By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter
GILBERTO M. Duavit, Sr., one of the founders of GMA Network, Inc. and former Rizal congressman, has passed away at the age of 84, the broadcast giant said on Friday.
“The Board of Directors, Management and Employees of GMA Network, Inc. deeply mourn the passing of Atty. Gilberto M. Duavit, Sr,” the listed company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.
Mr. Duavit was the founding chairman of GMA Network from 1974 to 1976, and served as one of its board directors to his last days.
GMA Network proudly attributes its success to the work of Mr. Duavit, who it said led it to the rebirth of the Republic Broadcasting System-TV Channel 7 in the 1970s.
He is also the father of current GMA Network President and Chief Operating Officer Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr.
Aside from leading one of the two largest broadcast networks in the country, Mr. Duavit also served as a policymaker in the 9th, 10th and 11th Congress as representative of the first district of Rizal.
He was named one of the Ten Most Outstanding Congressmen during his three-term stint at the House of Representatives. He served as the House Committee of Appropriations chairman during the 11th Congress.
Mr. Duavit was also the senior assistant minority floor leader during the 10th Congress, and a delegate to the 1971 Constitution Convention.
Outside the House of Representatives, Mr. Duavit served as Assistant Executive Secretary for Social, Political, Legal, and Economic Affairs in 1966 to 1970, and Acting Executive Secretary of the Office of President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1969.
He also led the National Youth and Sports Development Foundation of the Philippines in 1978 and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in 1974 to 1978.
Mr. Duavit likewise left his mark in the University of Rizal as one of its founding fathers. The school system’s president Marita R. Canapi mourned his death in a statement, saying the late man “was a great leader, an action-oriented man who served the people of Rizal with love and passion.”
“As President, I had the distinct privilege of working alongside with this great man to implement reforms in the field of higher education. I will forever be grateful for his valiant efforts and support as one of the founding fathers of the University of Rizal System,” she said.