Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has introduced a bill to expand the power and functions of the Film and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to include the regulation of video and online games.
Senate Bill 1063 or the proposed Video and Online Gaming Regulation and Outdoor Media Bill seeks to amend Executive Order No. 1986, which established the MTRCB, to ensure the safety and well-being of being children in the context of their exposure to new technologies.
Gatchalian cited 2020 gambling statistics which showed that 43 million gamers drove the unprecedented rise of the gambling industry in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia, with 74% of the population of Philippines online games playing on their mobile devices, 65% playing PC games and 45% playing classic console games.
Around 43 million gamers in the country spent $572 million on games in 2019, making the Philippines the world’s 25th largest market by gaming revenue as well as a key driver of the overall Southeast Asia gaming market in the during the said period, added Gatchalian.
The senator proposed that the MTRCB also regulate outdoor media, which includes advertising signs, light-emitting diode (LED) signs and billboards, floor signs, rooftop signs and display infrastructure.
In approving and disapproving exposure of video and online games, and outside media, Gatchalian suggests that the procedure that applies to a motion picture, television show, still image, and other advertisements illustrated will be applied.
The review and review procedure, as well as the ban on media deemed unfit for consumption in the Philippines, will also apply to video and online games, as well as outside media.
SB 1063 also seeks to prohibit the sale or distribution of any video game rated “Adults Only” by the MTRCB.
Purchasing or receiving games rated “Adults Only” and using false proof of age to obtain copies of those video games will be considered illegal under the bill.
The measure also provides that the packaging of any video game and any printed or digital advertising material that is sold and distributed in the Philippines must display its rating in an easily visible and legible manner, on the front side in the style and manner prescribed by the Board.
Meanwhile, digital copies of games should display the rating label on the menu screen.
“Habang patuloy nagbabago and lumalawak ang paggamit natin sa teknolohiya, dapat din nating tiyakin na nabibigyan ng kaukulang proteksyon and paggabay ang ating mga kabataan, lalo na mula sa mga hindi magagandang impluwensya and epektong maaaring idulot ng mga teknolohiyang ito,” Gatchalian said in A declaration.
(As the way we use technology evolves, we also need to ensure that children receive appropriate protection and guidance, especially from the harmful effects of this technology.) —Hana Bordey/KBK, GMA News