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Digital advocacy group nix proposed video game regulation

Digital Pinoys

A network of digital advocates is opposing the proposed legislation aiming to regulate and classify online video games.

Digital Pinoys National Campaigner Ronald Gustilo said that the Entertainment Software Rating Body video game content rating system currently in place is enough. ESRB is a self-regulatory body that independently applies and enforces ratings, advertising guidelines and online privacy principles adopted by the industry.

“Further classification and regulation of video games is totally unnecessary. The ESRB video game content rating system is already in place and has been proven to be effective in classifying and enforcing video games globally. We believe that the body is enough.”

It can be recalled that Senator Sherwin Gatchalian filed the Video and Online Games and Outdoor Media Regulation Act. Similar versions were also proposed before in congress but did not pass into law.

Gustilo is questioning the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board’s capacity to undertake the review of video games. In its mandate, MTRCB is also tasked to review tv shows and movies.

Gustilo said that revising MTRCB’s mandate to include video game review, classification and regulation is already redundant to what video game creators and developers are already doing.

“Despite the absence of a law, video game creators and developers is self-imposing ESRB ratings on their video games. We find this already sufficient and that government regulation is unnecessary.”

Gustilo also pointed out that the bill when passed will require budgetary requirements. According to the Department of Finance, the Philippines has a budget deficit of P833 Billion.

“Can the government still afford to take on another regulatory function while talking about right-sizing and rationalization within the government? Maybe it should focus its attention and resources in addressing the budget deficit rather than spending on unnecessary matters.”

Gustilo also said that if the government intends to thwart violent thinking in the youth, it should address real-life issues that breed violence. Gustilo is also questioning the basis of the proposed legislation.

“Is there any data proving that video games are the primary cause of violence? We ask this because as far as we’re concerned, there are real-life problems that must be addressed by the government such as poverty. If people earn enough, will they still be stealing? Will they still be choosing a life of crime if they are putting enough food on the table and able to send their children to school? We don’t think so. Hence, what we actually need is the holistic approach of the government to address poverty to be able to resolve crime. Unless there is data proving that video games breed violence, we will remain adamant towards the bill.”

Reference: Ronald Gustilo, Digital Pinoys National Campaigner