Directors' Guild of the Philippines not in favor of "expanding MTRCB’s censorship efforts"

by Jerry Olea
6 days ago
streaming censorship
The Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) expresses its "disagreement over the expansion of MTRCB’s censorship efforts and additional areas of jurisdiction, such as incursion into online streaming sites..."
PHOTO/S: Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

"Adults have the right and capacity to choose viewing materials for themselves and their children."

Bahagi ito ng mahabang statement ng Directors' Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) bilang reaksiyon sa sinabi ni Jose Benjamin “Benjo” Benaldo, ang spokesperson ng Movie and Television Review and Classification Board o MTRCB,

Bahagi ng sinabi ni Benaldo sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), "We will come out with an official stand...maglalabas pa po ang board ng official stand in the next few weeks—hopefully within this year—on Netflix."

Handang makipag-"serious dialogue" sa MTRCB ang DGPI kaugnay sa usapin ng pagre-regulate sa online streaming platforms.

Pero nauna na nitong ipinahayag ang "disagreement over the expansion of MTRCB’s censorship efforts and additional areas of jurisdiction..."

Narito ang official statement ng DGPI na inilabas nitong Nobyembre 20, 2021, Sabado ng hapon (published as is):

“In a PEP.ph article dated November 17, 2021, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Executive Director and Spokesperson Benjamin Benaldo announced that the MTRCB is set to determine its role regarding online content.

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“As quoted in the article, Mr. Benaldo said the intent of the MTRCB law includes ‘a little of censorship.’ He opined that with the legal principle of parens patriae, the government is empowered to act as parents of the country: ‘So, as a parent, we would like to have some sense of regulation in terms of what our children most especially would see.’

“The Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) reiterates its disagreement over the expansion of MTRCB’s censorship efforts and additional areas of jurisdiction, such as incursion into online streaming sites—platforms that already carry classification guides, content warnings, and parental controls.

"We believe that adults have the right and capacity to choose viewing materials for themselves and their children.

“Presidential Decree No. 1986 envisions the MTRCB as a partner of the film and TV industries toward realizing their authentic self-regulation, and encouraging the growth of both industries and the viewing public in an atmosphere of free expression—all the more necessary at this time when Congress has reached out to the film industry to facilitate and further develop its contributions to the creative economy.

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“In this spirit, industry stakeholders welcome a serious dialogue with the MTRCB on issues that limit freedom of expression. This freedom, whose inclusion in the 1987 Constitution our National Artist Lino Brocka fought for, is crucial for the arts and media to truly mirror social realities.

“Let us not fear our own reflections.”

"WALANG NEED FOR CENSORHIP"

Ganito rin ang tingin ni Boss Vic del Rosario. Hindi saklaw ng MTRCB ang streaming services.

Sa point of view ng business tycoon na nasa likod ng VIVA Max, "Subscription model kami, e."

Sa kanyang PEP Exclusives interview, sinabi pa niya, "Magbabayad sila, so dapat ibigay mo yung gusto ng nagbabayad."

Tanong ng PEP.ph: Won't this go up against censorship?

"Walang need for censorship," ang mabilis na sagot ni Boss Vic.

"Ang streaming, sa bahay mo iyan, hindi iyan sa public place.

"Masa-shock ka dahil bago iyan.
Eventually, streaming and free-to-air will co-exist, di ba, kasi ibang market. Baka yung pay TV or cable channel ang mawala."

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TIMELINE: MAHABANG USAPIN TUNGKOL SA CENSORSHIP

Ilang taon nang pinag-uusapan kung dapat bang i-regulate ng MTRCB ang online streaming content, partikular ang Netflix.

Enero 20, 2017

In-appoint si Maria Rachel Arenas, kapalit ni Eugenio “Toto” Villareal, bilang chairman ng MTRCB.

Inurirat si Arenas sa stand ng MTRCB sa Netflix nang magpa-presscon siya noong Pebrero 14, 2017.

Naiulat iyon ng katotong Jojo Gabinete sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal).

Ani Arenas, “Meron din mga napapanood ang mga tao online although legal naman iyon na binabayaran sa Netflix.

"But I didn't say, I want to regulate it. Ang sabi ko, they should do self-regulation or be more prudent in the shows or movies that are going out sa mga menu nila.

"Siyempre, nagkaroon ng reaksiyon yung mga tao, pati dun sa aking Facebook na, 'Don't dare touch my Netflix.'”

Sinabi ni Arenas na kailangan nang masimulan ang maaaring maging guidelines para sa online movies.

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"But hindi ko rin ipagkakaila na marami nang bansa, yung mga counterpart namin, pinag-aaralan din iyan kasi siyempre kailangan din tayo sumabay, and because the advance in technology is so fast, it's hard to cyber police…

“I just want to clear that I said, 'Maybe they should self-regulate,' kasi hindi iyan nasa jurisdiction ng MTRCB.

"At kung gusto man din naman na sa amin iyan na jurisdiction, we have to amend the law.”

Setyembre 30, 2019

Naiulat din dito sa PEP.ph ang paghimok ni Senartor Win Gatchalian sa MTRCB na i-regulate ang online streaming platforms—hindi lang Netflix, kundi pati Apple TV at Amazon Prime.

Bunsod iyon ng MTRCB Budget 2020 hearing, kung saan sinabi ni Arenas na hindi pa rin binabago ang batas tungkol sa saklaw ng MTRCB. Ibig sabihin, hindi pa rin nito sakop ang contents na ipinapalabas sa internet, kagaya ng streaming platforms at apps na nakabase sa abroad man o sa Pilipinas.

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Batid ni Arenas na ang Netflix at Amazon Prime ay rehistrado sa labas ng bansa, at sumusunod sa ibang batas.

Pahayag niya, “The difference is, of course, their law is different from us. I think what I understand is they outsource the reviewers which we cannot do.

“So we told them during our meeting that they should adopt our rating system.

“If we amend the law, maybe we can have more reviewers and allow outsourcing or add to our board members so that we can review all these materials.”

Pinalutang ni Senador Win ang isyu ng classification rating dahil maaaring ma-access agad ng mga Pilipino ang mga palabas na labis ang karahasan, kabulgaran, at kahalayan.

Pahayag ni Senador Win, “The MTRCB rates films and TV shows that come out in movie theaters and in television.

"But now, there are new technologies—Netflix, Apple TV— and I know for a fact that there are some apps that also show movies and other shows. So how do you keep up with technology in MTRCB?

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"This becomes sort of like a loophole for our regulators to look at. I just want to bring that on the table so that the board can discuss how to transition in today's 21st century distribution channel…”

Fast forward to pandemic period

Nang mag-umpisa ang lockdown sa NCR noong Marso 15 ay nagsara ang mga sinehan.

Natigil din muna ang maraming TV program, na nag-replay ng mga palabas.

Enero 2021, lumarga ang Vivamax, at sa pagkalipas ng mga buwan ay kapansin-pansin ang pagpapalabas nito ng mga erotikang pelikula.

Eksklusibong nakapanayam ng PEP.ph si dating MTRCB Chairman Manuel “Manoling” Morato (RIP) noong Hulyo 10, 2021, Sabado, sa Marco Polo Hotel, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.

Sinugpo noon ni Morato ang mga penekula (penetration films) sa panunungkulan niya mula 1986 hanggang 1992, sa ilalim ng administrasyon ni dating Pangulong Corazon Aquino.

“Pinatay ko. It took me two years, but I killed the bomba films!”

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Nanlumo ang dating MTRCB chairman sa paglaganap ng mapapangahas na palabas sa streaming platforms.

Aniya, “Totoo ka, I don’t like the thought. Even the titles should not be allowed, yung suggestive titles na against the law.

“Kapareha niyan, si Sharon Cuneta, may pelikula—Revirginized. That’s not allowed… It is the law, e — no suggestive titles.”

Gaya ng nauna nang nabanggit, hindi sakop ng MTRCB ang mga pelikula sa internet.

Pelikula at telebisyon lang ang nasa ilalim ng kapangyarihan ng nasabing ahensiya ng gobyerno.

Pero giit ni Morato, “The state has the right pa rin to control it. Because the internet, the television, and anything that goes through the air is a government… ahhm… ahhhm… siyempre, responsibility.

“Yeah, because you cannot say that you own the station, but then you are using a government space to beam all those shows out…

“Anything that you show publicly, has to be controlled by the MTRCB.”

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May panawagan ba siya sa mga taga-pelikula para maghinay-hinay o mag-self-regulate?

“Well, I gave them chance to self-regulate, but they don’t. They’re not disciplined enough.

"During my time, ha, nagpapalusot pa rin."

Pumanaw si Morato sa edad na 87 noong Hulyo 30 dahil sa COVID-19.

Nagbitaw si Arenas bilang MTRCB chairperson dahil nag-file siya ng kandidatura noong Oktubre 1 sa Comelec office ng Dagupan City, Pangasinan.

Oktubre 22 in-appoint ng Malacañang si Atty. Jeremiah Jaro bilang bagong MTRCB Chair.

Nobyembre 5, Biyernes, naglabas ng official statement ang MTRCB sa Facebook page nito kaugnay ng napipintong reopening ng local cinemas.

Pirmado iyon ng executive director II at spokesperson ng MTRCB na si dating Congressman Jose Benjamin “Benjo” Benaldo.

Nobyembre 10, Miyerkules, kasabay ng reopening ng local cinemas ay nagpalabas ng memo si Atty. Jaro kung saan pinawalang-bisa ang extension ng MTRCB deputy cards.

Nobyembre 11, Huwebes ng gabi, naka-zoom si MTRCB Spokesperson Benjo ng members ng SPEEd (Society of Philippine Entertainment Editors).

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Isiniwalat ni Spokesperson Benjo na layunin ng bagong board ng MTRCB na maging malinaw kung sakop ba o hindi ng ahensiya ang online streaming platforms, na gaya ng Netflix at Vivamax.

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The Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) expresses its "disagreement over the expansion of MTRCB’s censorship efforts and additional areas of jurisdiction, such as incursion into online streaming sites..."
PHOTO/S: Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
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