Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday encouraged the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to conduct a study on how it can ensure that Filipino values are maintained in digital content.
Cayetano made the statement during the plenary debate on the proposed 2024 budget of the MTRCB.
He stressed that with the widespread use of the Internet, the MTRCB’s role in protecting young viewers from indecent content has decreased.
He encouraged the MTRCB to form a research arm that will study how it can expand its mandate under the law to cover various digital platforms, including Netflix.
“Since nakikita ko sa MTRCB y’ung heart na maging guardian ng values ng ating youth ngayon, let me encourage MTRCB to look at contemporary Filipino values that we can agree on, and [determine] if they (digital platforms) are allowed na kahit ano pwedeng ipakita,” he said.
Cayetano clarified that the aim is not to censor but to ensure that young Filipinos do not consume content that is violent, lewd, or against Filipino morals, especially in today’s “much more confusing time” in which illegal drugs, teenage pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases have become rampant.
“It’s not more of censorship, but more of giving the young people the right ideas and information, and then they can make their own choices later on,” he said.
He said putting in P10 million to 15 million for the proposed research “will go a long way” in achieving this objective.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who presented to the plenary floor the proposed budget of MTRCB, agreed that the board is operating on “a relatively old law” and therefore “will not be able to address the challenges of the modern times and the digital age.”
“The MTRCB family is listening and I am certain that they will seriously consider the valid suggestions of Senator Cayetano,” Estrada said.
Cayetano said to ensure balanced results, the research should not rely on the personal values of the MTRCB chairperson but rather on the values of Filipino communities.
“We do have to have a standard, and siguro the first standard is the Philippine Constitution, which mentions the Lord Almighty sa preamble pa lang,” he said.
He said the research can also keep the filmmakers updated as to the type of shows that the Filipino public actually wants.
“Hindi totoo na kailangan parating violence at sex para kumita,” he said.