Prime time gay-themed drama alarms bishops

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03:55 AM June 27th, 2013

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By: Marinel R. Cruz, June 27th, 2013 03:55 AM

Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo. INQUIRER Bandera

MANILA, Philippines—GMA 7 has dared to tackle homosexuality on prime time TV via its drama series “My Husband’s Lover,” and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is not amused.

The CBCP, through its Episcopal Commission on the Youth (ECY), on Tuesday called for “more sensitivity” in the handling of an already sensitive subject matter.

In a report posted on rappler.com, the commission’s executive secretary, Fr. Conegondo Garganta, pleaded with TV producers and writers to carefully study themes explored in their shows, and consider the impact of those themes on young viewers.

“My Husband’s Lover” is about the romance between two men, one of whom is married, with children.

Garganta said producers of programs such as this one should “keep in mind that our culture values morality.”

In a statement sent to the Inquirer on Wednesday, the network acknowledged CBCP’s “scrutiny,” but pointed out that the program deals with “real-life situations.”

The statement, signed by corporate communications consultant Butch Raquel, insisted that the series was being presented “with utmost prudence and good taste.”

In any case, GMA 7 vowed to comply with the standards of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) that gave the program an SPG (Strong Parental Guidance) rating.

Raquel took the opportunity to cite the show’s “high ratings” in its first two weeks, and thanked viewers for their support.

For now, the network seems to have found an ally in the MTRCB.

In a text message to the Inquirer, MTRCB Chairman Eugenio “Toto” Villareal said the SPG rating meant that the network was “subject to compliance with the law,” but that it was allowed self-regulation.

Villareal, however, said the public—parents especially—could “invoke the board’s jurisdiction,” should they catch “inappropriate” scenes that might defy the SPG rating.

Malacañang echoed this in a reaction to Garganta’s call. The Palace urged parents to immediately report to the MTRCB scenes in the series that they would find objectionable.

Raquel rallied another sector, viewers of the show who conduct “intelligent discussions… in all forms of media,” promising them that the network would continue to produce “relevant” programs.

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