The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) should consider the comments of lawmakers before pushing through with its plan to regulate the contents of video streaming platforms such as Netflix, Malacañang said Monday.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he respects the decision of MTRCB Chair Rachel Arenas and other officials to push through with their plan, but suggested to “evaluate carefully” especially since budgets of agencies are being deliberated.
“Ang aking suggestion lang po, sa panahon ng budget, mukhang mahirap balewalain ang sinasabi ng Kongreso lalung-lalo na kung ang nagsalita na po ay ang Speaker of the House (My suggestion is that, in this time of budget hearings, it’s difficult to ignore what Congress is saying especially if the one who spoke is the Speaker of the House),” he said.
Roque pointed out that Congress has the duty to ensure that public funds are used properly.
“So, our suggestion po, evaluate carefully po, lalung-lalo na iyong sinabi ni Speaker Alan Cayetano na hindi na kinakailangang gawin iyan (especially what Speaker Alan Cayetano said that it’s not necessary). But we respect and bow to your discretion,” he said.
Cayetano earlier thumbed down the proposal of the MTRCB to regulate video content in streaming platforms, describing it as a “ridiculous idea”.
“Ang dami na ngang problema ng mga kababayan natin, tapos ito pa ang gustong unahin ng MTRCB? (The people are facing so many problems and yet this is what the MTRCB wants to prioritize),” Cayetano said in a Facebook post.
He added that MTRCB has no jurisdiction over Netflix and other online streaming platforms.
According to Cayetano, Presidential Decree (PD) 1986, which granted powers to the MTRCB, limited its scope to “motion pictures, television programs and commercials intended for public exhibition in theaters and television”.
“Walang Netflix dyan. Kasi nga (There is no Netflix in that law. That’s because) this law was crafted before the commercial use of the internet — and that medium has since grown by leaps and bounds,” Cayetano said.
If the MTRCB wants to be relevant at this time, he said it should be thinking of ways to help improve the country’s film industry, which has been left behind by its “Asian neighbors”.
Earlier, MTRCB legal affairs division chief Jonathan Presquito said there is a need to regulate streaming service platforms to ensure it is age-appropriate and contains no prohibited material.
Despite the backlash, MTRCB Chair Rachel Arenas said they will not be deterred and push through with its plan.
She insisted that a provision in Presidential Decree 1986 gives them the authority to regulate “any motion picture on whatever medium”. (PNA)