This is an automatically generated PDF version of the online resource retrieved on 2024/04/14 at 04:53
Global Media Registry (GMR) & VERA Files - all rights reserved, published under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Global Media Registry

Banat News

Banat News is a Cebuano dialect tabloid circulating in the Visayas region. With demand for news and content in the local language increasing, Banat’s first issue was published by its sister publication, The Freeman, on August 23, 1994. Both newspapers were then owned by the Gullas family, a known influential political clan in Cebu province.

The Freeman, initially published on May 10, 1919, holds the distinction of being the oldest surviving English-language newspaper in the province.

On August 24, 2004, the Belmonte family, owner of Philstar Media Group and publisher of Manila-based broadsheet, The Philippine Star, acquired The Freeman and Banat as part of their strategy to expand with community newspapers to strengthen their presence and influence throughout the Philippines. Its former owner, Jose “Dodong” Gullas, retained editorial control over the two publications.

Dodong Gullas served as chairman of JS Publications (The Freeman) Co., Inc. until his death at 87 due to pancreatic cancer in February 2021. He was replaced by Victorico Vargas as chairman.

Five years later, business mogul and PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan expressed interest in acquiring a stake in Philippine Star.

In 2010, Pangilinan’s MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., PLDT’s media conglomerate, acquired a 20 percent stake in the newspaper. Four years later, with MediaQuest’s acquisition of the Belmontes’ Philstar Media Group, The Freeman and Banat became part of the MVP Group of Companies, along with other Philstar Media Group publications The Philippine Star, Pilipino Star Ngayon, Pang-Masa, Starweek, and Businessworld.

Based on Nielsen’s 2023 Quarter 2 Philippine Media Landscape Report, Banat is the third leading regional newspaper with an audience measurement of 0.41%.

Key facts

Audience Share


Ownership Type


Geographic Coverage


Content Type

Paid content

Data Publicly Available

ownership data is easily available from other sources, e. g. public registries etc.

2 ♥

Media Companies / Groups

Philstar Media Group

Hastings Holdings, Inc.

MediaQuest Holdings, Inc.


Ownership Structure

Banat News is operated by JS Publications (The Freeman) Co., Inc., which is majority owned by Pilipino Star Ngayon, Inc. through a 49.99% stake. Pilipino Star Ngayon, Inc. is 80% owned by Hastings Holdings, Inc. and 20% by members of the Belmonte Family. Meanwhile, Hastings Holdings, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PLDT’s media arm MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., chaired by business tycoon Manuel. V. Pangilinan.
The Belmonte family owns a combined share of 10.004% in JS Publications (The Freeman) Co., Inc. Its ownership stakes are derived from the 0.006% combined shares directly held by Jaime Miguel, Juan Kevin and Feliciano Isaac, who each own 0.002%. The other 9.99800% comes from the family’s 20% ownership through Pilipino Star Ngayon, Inc.

About 39.9% of Banat News is controlled by Pangilinan through Media Quest and Hastings while the Belmonte Family retains about 9.998% through Pilipino Star Ngayon. 32.8% shares are held by the Gullas siblings — Joei Marie F. Gullas-Yu and John Vicente F. Gullas — each holding 16.40%. That leaves 16.41% unaccounted for in the company’s General Information Sheet (GIS).

Banat News is the sister publication of The Freeman owned by the Gullas family, a known influential political clan in Cebu province. It was acquired by the Belmonte family through Pilipino Star Ngayon, Inc. under the umbrella of the Philippine Star Media Group in 2004

Voting Rights

Missing Data

Group / Individual Owner

Gullas family

The Gullas siblings — Joie Marie F. Gullas-Yu and John Vincente F. Gullas — directly hold 32.8% shares in JS Publications (The Freeman) Co., Inc. They are the children of Jose “Dodong” Gullas, the company’s late chairman who revived The Freeman in 1965.

Joie Marie, daughter of Dodong, is a board member in JS Publications (The Freeman) Co., Inc. and an ex-officio member of the board of trustees of the University of Visayas. Meanwhile, Dodong’s son John Vicente is a board member and treasurer of JS Publications

Media Companies / Groups

General Information

Founding Year


Affiliated Interests Founder

Juanito Jabat

was the former publisher of The Freeman. He was the first editor-in-chief of Banat News.

Affiliated Interests Ceo

Miguel Belmonte

is the president and CEO of Philstar Media Group. He is the third son of The Philippine STAR founder Betty Go-Belmonte. His father Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. was a former House Speaker while his sister Joy Belmonte is the incumbent Quezon City mayor.

Miguel is credited for the growth of, the PhilStar Media Group which is now a multimedia enterprise that includes People Asia, BusinessWorld, The Freeman, Pilipino Star Ngayon, Pang-Masa, Banat, and InterAksyon.

Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief

Lucky P. Malicay

is the Editor-in-Chief of Banat News.

Affiliated Interests other important people

Victorico P. Vargas

is the Chairman of JS Publications (The Freeman) Co., Inc. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Philstar Daily Inc., Philstar Global Corporation, and Pilipino Star Ngayon, Inc. He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Maynilad Water Services, Inc. He also served as Director of PLDT Subic Telecom, Inc. and PLDT Clark Telecom, Inc., President and Member of the Board of Trustees of the First Pacific Leadership Academy, Trustee of the MVP Sports Foundation, and IdeaSpace Foundation, and President of the PhilPop Music Fest Foundation. He has also worked in senior roles at Union Carbide, Pepsico, Colgate Palmolive, and Citigroup.


Philippine Star Media Group Building, D. Jakosalem corner V. Gullas Street, Cebu City, Philippines

Tel. No.: (032) 255-4263/ 253-8613, 416-8588 (DL)



Financial Information

Revenue (in Mill. $)

992,926 US$ / 54,998,394 Mil PhP

Operating Profit (in Mill. $)

Missing Data

Advertising (in % of total funding)

Missing Data

Market Share

Missing Data

Further Information

  • Project by
    VERA Files
    Global Media Registry
  • Funded by
    Logo of Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Manila