Cayetano: MTRCB call to regulate content in Netflix, other video streaming sites ‘mind-boggling, ridiculous’
MANILA, Philippines — The call of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to regulate video content in streaming platforms such as Netflix is “mind-boggling” and “ridiculous,” House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday.
Cayetano made the remark after MTRCB’s legal affairs division chief Atty. Jonathan Presquito, in a Senate hearing, underscored the need to regulate streaming service platforms.
Presquito said that a lot of people are subscribing to movie streaming services such as Netflix and iFlix to keep their sanity intact amid the pandemic. Streaming video content, however, is not regulated.
But Cayetano disagrees with the MTRCB.
“This is the kind of bureaucratic thinking that gives government workers a bad name. Ang dami na ngang problema ng mga kababayan natin, tapos ito pa ang gustong unahin ng MTRCB?” Cayetano said in a Facebook post.
Cayetano said that if the MTRCB really wants to be “relevant at this time,” it should think of ways to improve the movie and television industry as the country lags behind other Asian neighbors despite having talented Filipino actors, directors, writers, and creative and production professionals.
“Ang irony pa dito, while Congress and other government agencies are doing everything it can to open up lines of communication with the public, and increase transparency – MTRCB is focused on the outdated mindset of information regulation and censorship,” Cayetano said.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 added.
Cayetano then cited Presidential Decree 1986, which created the MTRCB, and argued that regulating video content in video streaming sites is not under its jurisdiction.
“What makes this even more mind-boggling is that, in the first place, wala naman sa jurisdiction ng MTRCB ang Netflix and other online content,” Cayetano said.
“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 this law was crafted before the commercial use of the internet – and that medium has since grown by leaps and bounds,” he added.
The House Speaker said MTRCB will be given the chance to explain themselves as the lower chamber begins its budget hearings for the 2021 national budget.
“So hindi ko alam kung bakit biglang pumasok ito sa usapan. But anyway, since budgeting naman ngayon, Congress will give them a chance to explain how they came up with this ridiculous idea,” Cayetano said.
Presquito earlier said when the entity is registered with MTRCB, three things can happen: Movies that would be streamed are age-appropriate, prohibited content can’t be seen, and the movies shown online are authorized by the distributors.
He said it is the mandate of the MTRCB to review content regardless of where it is being shown, adding that the internet is just a medium and it does not follow that the agency loses jurisdiction on shows being streamed into the country.
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