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MTCRB campaigns for ‘Responsableng Panonood’

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

MTCRB chairperson Lala Sotto (3rd from left) with other members of the board, and Vice Mayor Abelardo Bantug III at a forum with PTA officials and school heads in Victorias City* GPB photo

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has further strengthened its campaign to promote responsible viewership, amid growing challenges in the digital age.

MTRCB chairperson Lala Sotto disclosed on Saturday that “Responsableng Panonood” is aimed at enlisting the help of parents and supervising adults in educating viewing habits of their children.

Sotto, who leads the MTRCB board members in the nationwide campaign of responsible viewership, said she believes in empowering and equipping the parents and supervising adults, including teachers, for them to know the parental and control of apps, such as the Subscription Video Demand Service Providers, and the User Generated Content for services.

The promotion of responsible viewership, according to Sotto, was being made pending deliberation of a proposed bill in the Senate that seeks to amend the Presidential Decree 1986 that created the MTCRB in 1985, when internet did not exist yet.

Senate Bill 1940 or MTRCB Act of 2023, sponsored by movie actor turned politician Robin Padilla, aims to give MTRCB authority to go after materials that express “national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, violence, or stereotyping or prejudice against the Filipino people, and includes the regulating content online and on-demand streaming services such as Netflix.”

Sotto said the proposed law will also able MTRCB to come up with a program that will help parents control the viewing habits of their children, with regards to online streaming apps, which may cause disturbances to their minds.

The series of forums on “Responsableng Panonood” organized by the MTRCB in cities of Bacolod and Victorias on September 15 and 16, respectively, were attended by school officials, members of various Parents and Teachers Associations, and local officials.

Sotto said they also established partnerships with Netflix, HBO Go, Primevideo, Disney and Viva 1 in their campaign for responsible viewership.

The amendments to 38-year-old MTCRB charter are being pushed to give the agency the authority to block and remove contents of social platforms that do not fit the moral values of Filipinos.

Sotto admitted that limited jurisdiction hinders the MTCRB from addressing the increasing number of complaints on inappropriate content exhibited through online streaming platforms.

The proposed bill of Padilla states that “almost 40 years since its creation, MTRCB proves to be bereft of the opportunity to address the changing demands of our time because of its limiting jurisdiction, organizational structure, and operational competence. It also lacks the enabling powers to cover potent types of visual media that have proliferated in many forms, including online streaming platforms, on-demand streaming services, and even video games.”

Sotto clarified that the mandate of MTRCB is to review and classify TV shows and movies.

Sotto recently was the target of online attacks after MTRCB decided to suspend “It’s Showtime” for 12 airing days when the program hosts, Vice Ganda and Ion Perez, allegedly acted in an “indecent manner” during “Isip Bata” segment.

We don’t go after specific talents or influencers, she stressed.

The MTRCB reiterated that their agency remains steadfast in its mission to ensure that television and movie content aligns with the cultural values and norms of the Philippines, saying that they will continue to encourage constructive dialogue, civil discourse, and responsible criticism with the public.*

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