MTRCB Chair Rachel Arenas had lunch with some selected members of the press. We first met her when she has just been appointed by Pres. Duterte to her post in February of 2017. She admitted then that she was still feeling her way in. So how is she now?
“After three years, mas nagustuhan ko na ang trabaho ko,” she says. “It’s not easy but I’m enjoying it with the help of 30 MTRCB members coming from different backgrounds. I’ve met so many people in the industry and I’ve made it clear to them that we are allies. We are ready to collaborate with them.”
We notice she has lost weight since we last saw her. “I’m into 16 hour fasting since July. I also eat less carbs.”
How about going to the gym? “I tried, but hindi kaya ng schedule ko. kasi travel time from my place in Makati to our office here in Quezon City takes one hour and a half coming and the same time going home. Wala nang oras.”
She’s happy that the MTRCB’s drive to foster “Matalinong Panonood” through summit meetings with different barangays in far flung areas in the country seems successful in giving effective guidance to parents about the different ratings they give to movies and TV shows for responsible viewing.
She also has a TV show online every Friday, “MTRCB Uncut”, that helps connect them directly to viewers. “Try watching it,” she says. “It’s a no-holds barred show featuring interviews with stars, directors and other important people in the industry who we work with about issues affecting all of us.”
Is it true they also have plans to ask those with streaming platforms to also be regulated by the MTRCB? “The law says all platforms, so legally, we can require them and we can police the digital world, even those who supply content directly online, like bloggers and those trolls who circulate fake news. It will be difficult to monitor them as you don’t really know who you are communicating with, but we have to start somewhere and form guidelines for them to follow, with the help of the National Telecommunications Commission or NTC.
“Pero hindi lang naman tayo ang may ganitong problem. I attended a conference abroad and even different countries have the same problem kasi even kids have cellphones and they can access sa streaming any kind of show they want to watch. That’s why we have to stress the importance of Matalinong Panonood. I’ve already asked the networks with streaming shows. I told them to show goodwill and register with us so we can help in formulating the policies that will help guide them.”
What’s her take on the issue about ABS-CBN’s pending franchise renewal? “Well, it’s all up to Congress. Wala naman akong kinalaman dyan. It will have to go through the proper legal process.”
She seems so busy. What about her lovelife? “Wala. Sa dami ng trabaho ko sa MTRCB, tapos Governor pa ako ng Red Cross and every weekend naman, I go home to Malasiqui, Pangasinan kasi hindi ko rin puwedeng pabayaan 'yung district namin. Puro work lang ako talaga.”