Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian is pushing for the expansion of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)’s regulatory powers to include video games and outdoor media, including billboards.
House Bill No. 4947, to be known as the “Video Game and Outdoor Media Regulation Act”, filed by Gatchalian seeks to amend Presidential Decree No. 1986, the law that created the MTRCB.
Gatchalian, a National People’s Coalition (NPC) member, has expressed alarm over the proliferation of easily accessible video games as well as billboards with mature content, which are unsuitable for children.
He observed that since the late 1990s many countries have expanded the functions and powers of their respective movie and television regulatory bodies to include the review and classification of video games, owing to the increasingly dominant position of video games in visual entertainment worldwide.
“These regulatory bodies have also focused on ensuring that video games with mature themes do not fall into the hands of those too young to properly process the graphic and violent scenes they are controlling on the screen,” said Gatchalian in his bill.
Under H.B. 4947, video games will now be classified like movies and television shows into categories such as “general patronage”, “parental guidance suggested”, “restricted”, and “not for public viewing”.
If the measure is enacted into law, the MTRCB will also have the power to pass or veto, delete “objectionable portions”, and ban the sale and production of video games and outdoor media, among others, following “Filipino cultural values as standard”.
“Realistically, it is virtually impossible to restrict access of minors to outdoor media since by definition they are prominently displayed in public spaces,” said Gatchalian.
“Since the functions of MTRCB already include the review of certain publicity materials, it is logical to delegate the review of outdoor media to this body as well,” he added.
Under Gatchalian’s proposed measure, the MTRCB will also be empowered to close establishments selling video games that violate the provisions of the amended P.D. 1986.
The measure has also made it illegal to sell to minors video games that are rated “adults only” by the MTRCB. (Monica Cantilero)