Count the House Speaker as the latest personality to criticize the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board’s (MTRCB) plan to regulate Netflix and other online video streaming services.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano slammed the MTRCB regarding its call to regulate video streaming platforms that have become so popular among Filipinos, especially during this pandemic.
Binge watching of K-dramas, TV series and even movie reruns have become the favorite pastime among Filipinos quarantined in their homes during the past more than 5 months.
The plan of the MTRCB was met with angry reactions by netizens, who believe that the country is already beset with so many problems amid the pandemic, and regulating online video streaming services won’t solve their quarantine woes.
“This is the kind of bureaucratic thinking that gives government workers a bad name,” Cayetano posted on his Facebook page. “Ang dami na ngang problema ng mga kababayan natin, tapos ito pa ang gustong unahin ng MTRCB? (Fellow Filipinos already have so many problems, and this is what the MTRCB plans to do now?)”
Cayetano also hit the agency for being “focused on the outdated mindset of information regulation and censorship,” and asked: “Anong dekada na ba kayo? (What decade are you in?)”
The House Speaker also added that the MTRCB does not have jurisdiction when it comes to content streamed online. He cited Presidential Decree No. 1986, the law that gave birth to the MTRCB, wherein the scope of the agency is limited to “motion pictures, television programs and commercials intended for public exhibition in theaters and television.”
Cayetano continued, “if [MTRCB] really want to be relevant at this time, sana ang iniisip is kung paano makakatulong sa pagpapa-improve ng industriya dahil napag-iwanan na tayo ng ating mga (they should think of ways on how to help improve the industry because we are already left behind by our) Asian neighbors,” Cayetano said.
According to MTRCB Legal Affairs Division chief Atty. Jonathan Presquito, content on streaming services have to be regulated since they are “unrated.”
However, the agency later clarified that it will not review the materials before they are shown on streaming services. It said that the proposal is that these online video streaming platforms should align their motion picture ratings and classifications to the contemporary values of Filipino viewers, according to MTRCB chairperson Rachel Arenas.