The Movie Television Review and Classification Board or MTRCB and Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas or KBP lauded the proposed measures of several lawmakers in the House of Representatives to expand the power and functions of MTRCB.
MTRCB and KBP said during a technical working group or TWG hearing in the House of Representatives that bills seeking expansion of the scope of MTRCB is timely with the widespread use of Internet and the advent of digital broadcasting.
“The MTRCB welcomes and appreciates the timely initiatives of our lawmakers to strengthen media regulatory board,” MTRCB Legal Affairs Head Jonathan Presquito said.
The TWG, headed by Bulacan Rep. Linabella Ruth Villarica, was formed by the House Committee on Public Information to merge House Bill No. 4947 or the “Video Game and Outdoor Media Regulation Act” of Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian with HB Nos. 1657 and 3297.
In the first sub-committee hearing, Presquito expressed his gratitude toward lawmakers who proposed to expand the power and functions of MTRCB.
Presquito admitted that the present functions of the MTRCB are already “outmoded” since the agency was created in 1985 during the Marcos regime through Presidential Decree No. 1986.
“As of now, some provisions in the current MTRCB mandate need to be attuned with the current technology advancement. Also, the board needs additional manpower to perform its function,” Presquito said.
The MTRCB legal affair head also acknowledged that the media regulatory board has no clear guidelines and has limited means to filter all the contents that are being released on the Internet.
Presquito explained that the current media consumption with the prevalence of Internet usage in households has been “massively altering” in terms of transmission.
He said the different types of content transmissions to netizens make it hard to monitor the information that are being released via World Wide Web since each type of transmission requires its own specific monitoring guidelines.
Based on the data of Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines or IMMAP in mid-2014, a total of 38 million Filipinos were recorded to have an access to the Internet.
In September 2014 alone, about 22 million Filipinos accessed their Facebook accounts via smartphone or tablet in the Philippines, according to IMMAP.
IMMAP also said that the number of Internet users is expected to increase dramatically because of the falling costs of both Internet access and devices in the country.
For its part, KBP told the House panel to take into account the five-year transition of broadcasting stations, from 2015 to 2020, to phase out the use of analog signals to transmit television airwaves under National Telecommunications Commission’s Memorandum Circular No. 05-11-2013
KBP Legal Counsel Rudolph Jularbal explained that under the NTC memorandum broadcast stations in the country will adopt Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial or ISDB-T technology as a standard in broadcasting to provide stronger signal in remote areas in the country.
“The efforts our lawmakers are substantial to the development of regulating media in the country. However, the adoption of Japan’s ISDB-T technology in the broadcasting should also be taken into consideration to fully attain the reforms in media regulation,” Juralba said.
Jularbal, who is also the vice president of Manila Broadcasting Company, said the integration of ISDB-T technology will also increase the number of TV channels in the country which will increase the demand of monitoring personnel in MTRCB.
He added that using ISDB-T technology will enable TV networks to broadcast higher quality of videos, from the standard definition of 640 x 480 up to 1920×1080 resolution, which would require MTRCB to acquire better monitoring and recording facilities.
The NTC memorandum came on the heels of President Benigno Aquino III’s promise to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last year that the Philippines would choose Japan’s broadcasting standard over that of Europe.
In a newspaper report, free-to-air TV or non-cable households that will be affected by ISDB-T integration comprise 90 percent of the Philippines’ 17 million viewers.
Besides Japan, other countries that use ISDB-T are Brazil, Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Paraguay. (Tim Alcantara)