Philippines: Show Biz in the New Censors’ Board

Censorship in America

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Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer – By Bayani San Diego Jr.

New members of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) recently toured the agency’s office on Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

Buildings standing in Eastwood, Quezon City

Quezon City

MTRCB chair Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares said she made certain to include representatives from various sectors vital to the board, including media and entertainment.

The show biz personalities among the new directors are actors Gladys Reyes, Liezl Martinez and Bobby Andrews, “Unang Hirit” host Atty. Gaby Concepcion, director Joey Romero, independent filmmaker Milo Sogueco, film editor Manet Dayrit and singer-activist Leah Navarro.

Reyes, a former child actor, told the Inquirer she hoped her 27 years in the industry would be useful. “I could be liberal or conservative, depending on the material [being evaluated],” she said.

Another former child star, Martinez—who is also the daughter of movie queen Amalia Fuentes and wife of actor-director Albert Martinez—said, “I am glad to give back to the industry that has been so kind to my family. I hope this new board will inject new life into our ‘dying’ industry.”

During the office tour, Martinez noted: “The entire board is excited and hopeful.”

Andrews said his aim was “to help our chair achieve her goal of a progressive and proactive board.”

Like Reyes, Martinez and Andrews, Navarro expressed gratitude for the assignment. “I’m happy to be the proverbial small cog in the MTRCB wheel,” she said, admitting that she was “more liberal than conservative, but not too much.”

Navarro explained: “The film industry needs to be reinvigorated. It needs room to grow. I’d like to help make that happen. Llamanzares wisely believes that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) should be brought into the new millennium. That’s a priority project that will set us on the right track.”

Young filmmaker Sogueco, one of the 25 honorees in the recent 1st Inquirer Indie Tribute, looks at his role as representative of the independent scene as a “huge responsibility.”

Sogueco said he sees no need for movies to be rated “X.” “Adolf Alix’s film ‘Chassis’ shouldn’t have been ‘X’d.’ I will work towards classification, not censorship. Our culture is dynamic and changing. The board should change with the times.”

Self-regulation

Romero agreed and vowed, “I will work for self-regulation. The very intent of the law creating the MTRCB is for the industry to regulate itself.”

Dayrit added: “As a film editor, I can [explain to] the board the filmmaker’s perspective and intent for scenes [that may raise concern]. As a mother, I will be strict with G and PG material, but quite liberal with adult content.”

Concepcion pointed out: “As a lawyer, it’s a challenge to balance the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression with the responsibility to safeguard values we want to protect and impart to our children.” She intends to approach her board mandate as a concerned parent, too. “The adults can probably take care of themselves most of the time.”

Llamanzares said the board has a special consultant on Muslim customs and affairs, Hadji Abdullah Lacs Daligdig. “He is also a local regulatory representative of the MTRCB in Mindanao,” she said.

She clarified that she was not averse to the depiction of sex and violence, for as long as it has “cultural, scientific and political value.” It’s in the context, she said. “In any case, if a film is already rated ‘R-18,’ no minor is allowed to see it.”

Llamanzares said she would rather work for stricter implementation of the rating system. “That’s non-negotiable. Children shouldn’t be exposed to R-rated material.”

Other board members from media—writers Krip Yuson, Marra Lanot, Mario Hernando and actor Tessie Villarama—have served under previous chairs.

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