MANILA - The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on Thursday urged senators to craft a policy that would allow the agency to "regulate" content on international streaming site Netflix and other similar providers.
The MTRCB's mandate is to review all motion pictures shown in the Philippines, regardless of the platform, MTRCB Legal Affairs Division chief Jonathan Presquito told the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
"Stream services like Netflix are video on demand platforms. We have to regulate those platforms. We have to ensure that those materials being shown on those platforms are compliant with MTRCB laws," he said.
"MTRCB has jurisdiction of that content regardless kung saan mo siya pinalabas... Just because sa internet siya pinalabas, hindi na siya covered ng MTRCB law," he said.
Netflix earlier said it logged some 16 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 after thousands of people were forced to stay indoors as various governments imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The surge in subscribers led to a 27 percent increase in revenue, allowing Netflix to earn some $5.7 billion, the company had said in a statement.
While Netfilx has no office in the Philippines, the international streaming giant is "definitely" doing business in the country through the collection of subscription fees from Filipinos, Presquito said.
The MTRCB official also noted that other countries have been regulating Netflix content.
"Sa South Korea, lahat ng content ng Netflix dumadaan sa prior review," Presquito said.
"We don't want that kind of review. We want an environment of growth. Let's allow streaming services to flourish, but how do we find the balance?" he said.
Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel said the Senate would have to review how to implement the MTRCB's proposal to review online streaming content.
"Kailangan pag-isipan natin yan (We have to think it through)... It's either we update our laws to catch up with technology or we enforce our archaic laws and hold back technological progress," he said.