Vice Ganda sorry for new ‘indiscretion’
Controversial comedian Vice Ganda has landed in hot water once again, this time for alleged “offensive and degrading” scenes in one ABS-CBN program where he hosts, and for “using words with sexual undertones” in another.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) reported on Aug. 26 that network representatives attended a mandatory conference to discuss the July 28 episode of “It’s Showtime,” specifically the segment, “Gandang Lalaki.” The report said the comedian, whose real name is Jose Marie Viceral, dried his armpit with a towel and used the same towel to wipe a male dancer’s face.
“Vice Ganda readily apologized during the hearing for that indiscretion and admitted that he went overboard,” said MTRCB chief legal counsel Jonathan Presquito. In May 2013, Viceral was widely criticized for a date-rape joke that he made in public about broadcaster Jessica Soho. He was compelled to apologize for that as well.
The Inquirer sought Viceral for a statement but his camp did not return repeated calls.
As a result of the conference, program executives agreed to a three-month period of “close collaboration” with the board. Under the agreement, ABS-CBN will undertake “further concrete remedial and self-regulatory measures to address all concerns about child sensitivity and overall audience sensitivity.” ABS-CBN was ordered to report to the board in writing every four weeks “all the measures undertaken and their results.”
“It’s Showtime” executives and talents will undergo a seminar on media and the legal profession, in the context of both audience sensitivity and the administration of justice, to be given by MTRCB Chair Eugenio Villareal on Oct. 17 at the MTRCB office in Quezon City.
Present during the hearing were program executives Reily Santiago, Allan Sunga and Romer Gonzales; Viceral and program cohost Billy Crawford; legal counsel Mona Lisa Manalo; and resource persons invited by MTRCB, namely, National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) executive director Delia C. Hernandez; Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) director for Child’s Rights Klarise Estorninos and program officer Kristoffer Claudio.
Hernandez pointed out that children were very likely among the viewers of “It’s Showtime,” which airs from 12:30-3 p.m.
Said a board statement quoting Hernandez: “The offensive and degrading acts may have an impact on the value formation and intellectual development of children. Anything that exposes the child to an environment that would make him or her depart from fundamental norms… such as the use of obscene language, lack of respect for the dignity of [others], and exposure to scenes of sex and violence, are… deemed prejudicial to the child’s development. Thus, the network [should] be more responsible and must [practice] more proactive self-regulation.”
The board pointed out another incident in the Aug. 3 episode of “Gandang Gabi Vice” that it deemed offensive. This was Viceral’s use of “words with sexual undertones and other
nonverbal acts with double sexual meaning” while interviewing actor Piolo Pascual.
Vice Ganda, through network executives, was given the chance to explain after he was informed of the cause and nature of the probable violation, the MTRCB said.
Representatives from the NCCT and AHRC agreed that “the scenes in issue contained elements prejudicial to the development and well-being of children.”
Under the Charter of Children’s Television, Hernandez said, children should get to watch “high-quality programs that do not exploit [them but rather help] them develop physically, mentally and socially to their fullest potential.”
AHRC’s Estorninos cited the Broadcast Code of the Philippines that “prohibits offensive, obscene, blasphemous, profane and vulgar double- meaning words and phrases even if understood only by a segment of the audience.” Given the nature of “Gandang Gabi Vice,” he added, children should be prohibited from participating in the live audience taping.
“The mood during the hearing was nonadversarial,” Presquito noted. “The network representatives were very willing to improve their programs. Vice Ganda was very cooperative and asked a lot of questions. We arrived at a resolution that same day.”
What kids think
The board held a poster-making contest for kids on Aug. 29 with the theme “Pelikula, Telebision at Ako” as part of its 29th anniversary celebration.
MTRCB spokesperson Ann Nemenzo said the event aimed to understand how TV and movies affect children. “These posters show us what kids perceive as good or bad. This can serve as a wake-up call for parents and guardians,” she said.
Filmmaker Bernard Cañaberal, guest speaker, spoke to the participating grade schools students at the Albergus Open Court in Quezon City. Nemenzo reported, “He told them that not everything they see on TV and hear on the radio is real. He instructed them to turn off the machines if they don’t like what they are seeing or hearing.”
Cañaberal is also a broadcaster and member of Philippine Association for Media Education.
Also part of the board’s anniversary celebration is a jingle-making contest that ends Oct. 24, and the 2nd Family and Child Summit on Nov. 8.
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