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MTRCB rejects proposed expansion of mandate to regulate video, online games

MTRCB rejects proposed expansion of mandate to regulate video, online games

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on Monday rejected the proposal to include the regulation of video and online games in their mandate.

MTRCB chairperson Diorella  Maria "Lala" Sotto-Antonio made the position at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media when asked about Senator Sherwin Gatchalian's bill.

"Inaamin po namin, hindi po kakayanin ng MTRCB kung isasama pa po ang video games," Sotto-Antonio said.

(We admit that MTRCB will not be able to regulate video games.)

In explaining MTRCB's stand, Sotto-Antonio said the ratings on video and online games in other countries cannot be applied in the Philippines due to differences in values.

"Una sa lahat, ang sinasabing rating ay akma lamang sa ibang bansa. Hindi ibig sabihin angkop na rin po 'yan sa Pilipinas dahil iba naman po ang Filipino family values," she said.

(First of all, the said ratings are applicable only to other countries. It does not mean that their system is suitable for the Philippines because Filipino family values are different.)

"Pangalawa po, in order for the board members to rate just one game, they have to pay the whole game at ilang oras po ang igugugol nila para makapaglaro ng game. Wala pa po 'yung dapat nilang pagtuunan ng pansin," she added.

(Second, in order for the board members to rate just one game, they have to pay [for] the whole game and many hours will be spent playing the game. That does not include the other things they should look into.)

She further explained that reviewing video and online games will require "a whole new structure" which does not belong to MTRCB's mandate.

Asked by Senator Robin Padilla if they are rejecting the proposal, Sotto-Antonio answered in the affirmative.

"Pasensya na po. Gusto lang po naming maging tapat kaysa naman po tanggapin naming nang tanggapin ang lahat ng ibibigay, hindi naman pala namin mafu-fulfill ang aming mandato. Magiging unfair naman po yon sa inyo," she said.

(I'm sorry. We just want to be truthful rather than accept everything given to the extent that we will not be able to fulfill our mandate. It would be unfair to you all.)

Gatchalian has filed Senate Bill 1063 or the proposed Video and Online Games and Outdoor Media Regulation Act which seeks to amend Presidential Decree No. 1986 creating the MTRCB, to uphold the safety and well-being of children amid their exposure to new technologies.

The senator cited the 2020 gaming statistics which showed that 43 million gamers drove the unprecedented rise in the Philippine gaming industry and across Southeast Asia, with 74% of the Philippine online gaming population playing on their mobile devices, 65% on PC games, and 45% playing on the classic console games.

Around 43 million gamers in the country spent $572 million on games in 2019, making the Philippines the world's 25th biggest market by game revenues as well as a key driver in Southeast Asia's overall games market during the said period, Gatchalian added.

In approving and disapproving the exhibition of video and online games, and outdoor media, Gatchalian is suggesting that the procedure that applies on a motion picture, television program, still and other pictorial advertisements will be applied.

The procedure on examination and review, as well as banning of media deemed unfit for consumption in the Philippines, will also apply to video and online games, and outdoor media. —KG, GMA Integrated News