To uphold the safety and well-being of children amid their exposure to new technologies, Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking to expand the powers and functions of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to include regulation of video and online games.
Gatchalian made this proposal in Senate Bill No. 1063 or the Video and Online Games and Outdoor Media Regulation Act, which seeks to amend Presidential Decree No. 1986 that created the MTRCB.
“Habang patuloy na nagbabago at lumalawak ang paggamit natin sa teknolohiya, dapat din nating tiyakin na nabibigyan ng kaukulang proteksyon at paggabay ang ating mga kabataan, lalo na mula sa mga hindi magagandang impluwensya at epektong maaaring idulot ng mga teknolohiyang ito,” Gatchalian said
The 2020 gaming statistics reveal that 43 million gamers drove the unprecedented rise in the Philippine gaming industry and across Southeast Asia, with 74% of the Philippine online gaming population playing on their mobile devices, 65% on PC games, and 45% playing on the classic console games. Moreover, 43 million gamers in the country spent $572 million on games in 2019. This made the Philippines the world’s 25th’s biggest market by game revenues, as well as a key driver of Southeast Asia’s overall games market during that time.
Aside from video and online games, Gatchalian also proposes that the MTRCB also regulate outdoor media, which includes advertising signs, Light Emitting Diode (LED) signs and billboards, ground signs, roof signs, and sign infrastructures.
In approving and disapproving the exhibition of video and online games, and outdoor media, the procedure that applies on a motion picture, television program, still and other pictorial advertisements shall apply. The procedure on examination and review, as well as banning of media deemed unfit for consumption in the Philippines, will also apply to video and online games, and outdoor media.
Gatchalian’s bill prohibits the sale or distribution of any video game that has been rated “Adults Only” by the Board. It will also be unlawful for a minor to buy or receive games rated “Adults Only,” and use false evidence of age to obtain copies of these video games.
The bill also provides that the packaging of any video game and any printed or digital publicity material that is sold and distributed in the Philippines must display its rating in an easily viewable, legible manner, on the front side in the style and manner prescribed by the Board. Digital copies of games, on the other hand, must display the rating label on the menu screen.