Robredo shoots down planned MTRCB regulation of Netflix

Published September 6, 2020, 5:26 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday slammed what she called an “ill-timed” plan of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to regulate video streaming platforms operating in the Philippines.

Vice President Leni Robredo
(Photo by Charlie Villegas / OVP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Speaking on her weekly radio show, Robredo questioned the sense of sensitivity of MTRCB regulating Netflix and other streaming platforms in this time of coronavirus pandemic.

“Sana palaging may recognition kung anong klaseng panahon mayroon tayo ngayon at sana huwag na dumagdag pa sa pagpahirap. Lahat tayo nag-e-exert ng efforts to cope,” she said.

(I hope there will always be recognition of the kind of situation we are facing right now and it will not add to the hardships. Everyone is exerting efforts to cope.)

In last week’s Senate hearing, MTRCB chief
legal officer Jonathan Presquito said the agency must regulate content of Netflix, Iflix, and the like as mandated by law.

Presquito pointed out that “motion picture” materials, regardless of the manner of exhibition and distribution, must be regulated by the MTRCB.

Robredo asserted the MTRCB will be able to make a right decision on the matter if it will only be sensitive to the current condition of Filipinos.

“Sana pumili ng panahon (I hope it will choose the right time),” she said. “Sana huwag ngayon. Pag-usapan nang maayos pero [kapag] mas normal na ‘yung circumstances (I hope they won’t do it now. They should discuss it under normal circumstances).”

The vice president likened the plan of the censors body to the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s move to tax online sellers who are still reeling from COVID-19 impact and the shutdown of media network ABS-CBN.

“Para ’yung pagtanggal din nito ng ABS-CBN sa panahon na marami ang nasa bahay, lalo ‘yung nasa malalayong lugar ito lang ’yung inaasahan, isasara pa,” Robredo said.

(This is like the closure of ABS-CBN at a time when many people are at home, especially those in far-flung areas where they solely depend on it, then it was shut down.)