MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) A popular burger chain pulled off the air its latest TV commercial showing a young boy and girl in courtship after the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called for such action.
According to the CBCP, the message of the commercial is not acceptable.
The CBCP singled out the TV ad to correct values taught to the youth especially with regard to courtship, said Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family Life.
In the commercial, a young girl asks a young boy if she is already his girlfriend. The boy replies that he is not yet ready. The girl reasons out that what she really wants is french fries. The children are of grade school age.
"Ang punto eh hindi yung pagiging, baka ang punto nung kompanya ay, mura 'yung french fries nila. Pero ang isang punto de bista dito [ay] ang human relationship ba ay french fries lang ang katumbas?," Castro said.
The company had a dialogue with CBCP and it immediately heeded the bishops' call. It decided to stop the airing of the commercial.
"We recognize and respect the stand of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and have stopped airing the said commercial across all television stations as of noon today," McDonald's Philippines said in a statement.
CBCP, meanwhile, appreciated the company's swift action.
"Nakakatuwa na may positive reaction from them. Pero sana lang 'wag nang dumating ulit sa puntong ito. Sana on their own, 'yung kanilang sensitivity sa culture, sa faith ng isang bansa ay kilalanin," Castro said.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), meanwhile, did not give a direct statement about the commercial.
But according to Grace Poe Llamanzares, MTRCB chair, a group was already formed to draft guidelines on how the youth should be depicted on television.
"The children must be protected," said Llamanzares, adding, "Ang role kasi ng MTRCB ay dapat makilala at malaman kung ano ba ang standard contemporary Filipino value."
McDonald's, in its statement, added that in the past years, their commercials always conveyed positive messages such as love for family and charity.
"Over the years, we have strived to produce advertisements that highlight positive values like love for family ('Karen Lolo' ad) and charity (Ronald McDonald House Charities) which mirror what the brand stands for. McDonald's remains committed in promoting positive values and will continue raising the bar to be better at what we do whether it is our food, our service, to even how we communicate to the public," it explained.
The CBCP reminded other companies to be sensitive to the messages they want to convey to the public, especially if children are involved. -- Report from Abner Mercado, ABS-CBN News