SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano has slammed the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) for its plan to regulate video content in streaming platforms like Netflix.
“This is the kind of bureaucratic thinking that gives government workers a bad name,” Cayetano said in a statement posted on his Facebook account.
“Ang dami na ngang problema ng mga kababayan natin, tapos ito pa ang gustong unahin ng MTRCB?” he added.
He said he is puzzled why the issue suddenly cropped but added that since the hearings for the 2021 National Budget are already under way, “Congress will give them (MTRCB) a chance to explain how they came up with this ridiculous idea.
It was MTRCB Legal Affairs Division chief Atty. Jonathan Presquito who mentioned the need to regulate streaming service platforms during a Senate trade committee hearing on the proposed Internet Transactions Act on Thursday, September 3.
Presquito had said it is necessary for the Board to proceed with the regulation especially during the lockdown since many people are subscribing to movie streaming services like Netflix and iFlix “to keep their sanity intact” even though these platforms are unregulated.
But Cayetano said if the MTRCB wants 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 Asian neighbors.”
He said the film industry is in dismal condition “despite the fact that there are so many talented Filipino actors, directors, writers, and creative and production professionals.”
“Ang irony pa dito, while Congress and other government agencies are doing everything they can to open up lines of communication with the public, and increase transparency, MTRCB is focused on the outdated mindset of information regulation and censorship,” Cayetano said.
“Anong dekada na ba kayo?,” he asked.
Cayetano said the fact that Netflix and other online content are beyond the jurisdiction of the MTRCB “makes this even more mind-boggling.”
He said while Presidential Decree (PD) 1986 granted powers to the MTRCB, it also limited its scope to “motion pictures, television programs and commercials intended for public exhibition in theaters and television.”
“Walang Netflix dyan. Kasi nga this law was crafted before the commercial use of the internet — and that medium has since grown by leaps and bounds,” Cayetano said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also opposed the MTRCB plan.
“I am opposed to it. Instead of regulating streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, MTRCB should continue to allow Netflix and other media to self-regulate content,” Drilon said.
“It’s very impractical. There are thousands of shows on Netflix alone – how will MTRCB review each one? Can the MTRCB review every single content that can be accessed through the internet? What will they do about virtual private networks that allow users to access content from other countries? If they insist on it, then taxpayers will be paying MTRCB only to stream movies and shows 24/7, 365 days,” he added.
– with Marlon Purificacion