Officers of the Film Academy of the Philippines and stalwarts of the local film industry have been invited to a public hearing on the possible abolition or amendment to the existing Movie and Television Review and Classification Board on Tuesday, Sept. 23
The joint meeting will be conducted by the House Committee on Public Information and the Committee on Government Reorganization. During the same meeting, an inquiry will be conducted into the recent X-rating of MTRCB of three documentary films– Rights, A Day in the Life of Gloria and Mendiola.
To be tackled during the joint meeting are the following:
–House Bill No. 2294 (entitled An Act Creating the Movie and Television Control Commission, Abolishing the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, and For Other Purposes), authored by Rep. Bienvenido M. Abante, Jr.
–House Bill No. 3854 (entitled An Act Amending Presidential Decree No. 1986 Creating the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board), authored Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez.
–House Resolution No. 394 (entitled A Resolution Directing the House of Representatives Through the Committee on Public Information to Conduct an Inquiry, in Aid of Legislation, into the Board’s (MTRCB’s) X-rating for Rights, A Day in the Life of Gloria and Mendiola, in the Light of Allegations that the MTRCB’s Mandate for Classification has Become a Tool for Political Repression and Censorship in Violation of Article III Section 4 of the Philippine Constitution and to Review PD 1986 for the Recommendation of Amendments or its Repeal,
authored by Reps. Liza Largoza-Maza and Luzviminda C. Ilagan.
The Abante Bill seeks to abolish the MTRCB and create in its stead the MTRCB which shall be composed of an 11-man commission headed by a Chairperson, a 30-member review and classification committee and a secretariat. It shall be placed under the Office of the President.
The members of the Commission shall be natural-born Filipino citizens, at least twenty years of age, and of good moral character. Provided, that, the Chair-person and Vice-Chairperson shall be at least thirty-five years f age, of known probity and managerial and administrative competence.
The bill also provides that the ten members of the Commission shall be composed of two representatives each from the television/cable industry, the home video/movie industry, the youth sector and the religious sector and one representative each from the academe and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Movie and television producers or importers and cable service providers and the owners of these outfits cannot be appointed commissioners.
The Review and Classification Committee shall be initially composed of thirty members and appointed by the Chairperson upon approval by the Commission. Not less than fifty percent of the members shall come from the motion picture, television, cable television and advertising industries to be nominated by their legitimate industry associations and organizations.
The inquiry on the X-rating by the MTRCB of three documentary films was instigated by Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Maza and Ilagan.
The docu-film Rights was rated X on Sept. 19 last year. The film tackles human rights and extra-judicial killings and disappearances. The MTRCB rating explained that “Scenes in the film are presented unfairly, one-sided and undermine the faith and confidence of the government and duly constituted authorities, thus, not for public exhibition.” The X rating was subsequently withdrawn and downgraded to R.
Last December, the MTRCB gave an X rating to the short film Mendiola on the basis that “it undermines the faith and confidence of the government and duly constituted authorities; tendency to incite rebellion and sedition against the State; possible violation of RA 7610 where confidentiality rights of children was not considered.” On that same day, the MTRCB also X-rated A Day in the Life of Gloria stating “The review committee finds this material not fit for public viewership—for it violates the PD 1986 provisions. This work is libelous and defamatory to the good name and reputation of the President of the Philippines.”
Both Mendiola and A Day in the Life of Gloria were not shown in the Kontra-Agos: A Resistance Film Festival held last December 5-11 at the Robinson’s Galleria Cinemas.
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