MTRCB urges Netflix, other video streaming services to ‘adopt’ PH ratings system

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2020 06:40 PM | Updated as of Oct 05 2020 06:35 PM

MANILA - The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on Friday said it was "not going to regulate" Netflix and other streaming services, but instead asked those companies to "adopt" the local rating system for movies and television shows.

All movies and television programs shown in the Philippines are categorized into 7 ratings, based on how appropriate the content is to an audience.

"We are not going to regulate video on demand. We are going to do co-regulation," MTRCB chair Rachel Arenas said during a budget hearing in the Senate.

"Hinihiling lang naman namin sa kanila is to adopt our ratings."

(We are just asking them to adopt our ratings.)

Netflix and other video streaming providers are "very much amenable" to adopt the Philippine system of labeling which shows or movies are suitable to viewers, the MTRCB chief said.

"They are the ones asking what law they should follow. We told them we would first make guidelines," she said, noting the the review board is still in the process of crafting these policies.

MTRCB drew criticism after saying it wanted to regulate Netflix and similar services, which has become more profitable during the COVID-19 lockdown as traditional cinemas remain closed.

Sen. Grace Poe, a former MTRCB chair, underscored that most films and series uploaded on video-streaming platforms have already undergone inspections from their countries of origin.

"These contents have been reviewed by respective places of origin. The problem is really monitoring within the home," Poe said.

The MTRCB is asking for a P105.93-million budget next year to continue its mandate of "regulating and classifying motion pictures, television programs, and publicity materials," as well as "promoting a value-based media and entertainment culture" in the Philippines.

The review board is in need of more funding next year after its coffers dipped by 40 percent this year due to the forced closure of ABS-CBN, the Philippines' largest broadcaster, and the limited operations of the entertainment industry because of the global pandemic.