For Filipinos in the times of pandemic, Netflix is the closest friend. Watching or binge-watching from K-Pop to Series up to one’s favorite anime films, the nation has already taken the brand by storm. But the good days are over, or at least a villain has come.
Recently, the Philippines’ Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) expressed its desire to regulate the content of Netflix and other online streaming services to comply with the country’s laws.
“Netflix are media-on-demand platform and we have to regulate those platforms, we have to be sure that materials being shown on those platforms are in compliance with the MTRCB law,” announced by Jonathan Presquito, MTRCB legal affairs division chief, in a virtual public hearing by the Senate committee on trade, commerce, and entrepreneurship.
Presquito also insisted that in South Korea, where most dramas are a hit to the Pinoy fans, Netflix content is studied to safeguard age-appropriate and halt explicit materials.
Moreover, he added, “there is a necessity for us to proceed with the regulation, especially during the lockdown. Most of us, our sanity was maintained with streaming services like Netflix. The regulation will ensure three things, age-appropriate, no prohibited content, and the movies or series were released with authority.”
As early as 2018, Presquito said the MTRCB has already been engaged with its counterpart in different regions and different stakeholders regarding the regulation of motion picture content distributed through Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other video-on-demand platforms.
The logic with the proposal is that despite being foreign, there have been businesses by the streaming app in the shores of the Pearl of the Orient. However, the law governing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proves to be a reference to this measure.
However, Presquito said it’s a thorn in the flesh to get over with since Netflix and the others could claim they are not physically operating in the Philippines.
“Definitely they are doing business, subscribers coming from and based in the Philippines and watching from the Philippines,” the Philippine Senate committee chairman Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said.
Instead of this, another politician Imee Marcos recommended that the deliver on digital media discussions.
“All over the world, everyone has problems on online streaming and as we are on lockdown during the pandemic, the reality is the creatives are even getting more creative putting pirated and legal materials online,” Marcos said.
Earlier this year, the legislative department imposed a tax on e-commerce services and apps, including Netflix, to add a levy to digital services.