MTRCB head on amending law, handling bashers

MTRCB head on amending law, handling bashers, meeting Vice Ganda

/ 12:10 AM March 08, 2024

MTRCB Chair Lala Sotto-Antonio

MTRCB Chair Lala Sotto-Antonio | PHOTO: Diorella Sotto-Antonio/Facebook

A bill intended to amend Presidential Decree No. 1986, or the law creating the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), is currently being passed in the Senate by Sen. Robin Padilla.

Under its “Responsableng Panonood” program, the MTRCB continues to collaborate with online streaming apps in relation to the promotion of in-app parental controls allowing users to place a PIN code and designate an account for young viewers.


The various plans on how to expand the program, especially the one that collaborates with President Bongbong Marcos’ campaign for “Bagong Pilipinas,” will be implemented in 2024.


This was according to MTRCB Chair Diorella Maria “Lala” Sotto-Antonio, who sat down with reporters on Monday to give her assessment of the activities and programs that were implemented in 2023.

Protecting children

“I think it was a surprisingly challenging year. We were able to surpass all the challenges and make right decisions by God’s grace. Yes, we encountered a lot of bashers, but dealing with them is something I got used to while growing up. My work here is very different compared to when I was in politics,” said Sotto-Antonio, who served as councilor of Quezon City for 18 years prior to being appointed MTRCB chief.

“My influence used to just be within our city. Now I’m also known in different areas. I’m glad they’re aware that the MTRCB is very active and it’s here to protect children from content their parents don’t want them to see,” said Antonio, who is the daughter of former Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Antonio said that in 2024 there will be more “Responsableng Panonood” programs in the regions. “There will also be more training. We need to equip and empower the parents to be involved in the viewing habits of their kids, especially children below 7 years old because they are the most vulnerable.”



Sotto-Antonio said that unlike regulating movies, which is more controlled, TV is more difficult. “We need to create awareness for the parents and supervising adults on our classification and our parental control features and safeguards that they can utilize to protect their children, especially from the content of online streaming apps that they don’t want their children to be exposed to,” she said. She also observed that a lot of households turn TVs into babysitters. “This is a common practice. I understand that a lot of underprivileged Filipinos don’t have the capacity to hire a nanny. Sometimes, even the nannies make use of TV as a tool to help in taking care of their wards. We also need to equip the nannies,” she declared.

The MTRCB chief also reported that PD 1986 is currently being amended through Padilla’s office. “However, it has yet to be submitted. Our technical working group, and our staff—both legal and administrative divisions—are working very closely with the office of Sen. Padilla in terms of jurisdiction and purview,” she reported.

“With regard to social media, we have yet to come up with concrete plans. This is forthcoming in our meetings. With the online streaming apps, it is humanly impossible for us to review the movies that are going to be streamed online before they are exhibited in our country. However, I believe there still has to be a form of monitoring in all of these, and, being the regulatory body that is appointed by the President, we still have to do something about it. We are currently constructing plans for that,” Sotto-Antonio continued.

Since she assumed office, the agency has already formed partnerships with subscription video-on demand (SVOD) companies like Netflix. “We’ve been talking to HBO Go, Amazon and the most recent was with Warner Bros.,” she pointed out.

“We also have a very active social media team and monitoring/inspection unit. We have our own Facebook account and website, which will automatically lead you to the MTRCB complaint center,” Sotto-Antonio said. “We have been receiving a lot of complaints, but of course, they are subject for validation. We first make sure there’s a basis or merit. It’s still our board that will be able to tell if there was a violation.”

She is aware that the MTRCB’s decision to suspend the noontime variety show “It’s Showtime!” for 12 days in September prompted viewers to question her integrity as MTRCB chair. This was because the rival show, “E. A. T.” on TV5 is coproduced and hosted by her dad, her uncle Vic Sotto, and their longtime friend Joey de Leon (TVJ). “I’ve always believed that each of us are entitled to our own opinion. To be honest, I no longer notice the bashers because of the heavy workload we have here in the office. Months have passed. It’s already March. A lot of things have happened since. I believe that the MTRCB was able to prove that it is very consistent when it comes to decision-making and its stand as a regulatory body of movies and TV,” Sotto-Antonio stressed.

Dealing with controversies

She said she did not even have to discuss the issue with her dad. “We’re so used to dealing with controversies. Don’t forget that we grew up around that. In high school, people started writing negative things about my dad as a senator. Opposition will always be part of life, and I’ve accepted that. As for my family, they also don’t bother to give these negative opinions a fraction of their time.”

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Sotto-Antonio added that she only recently met “It’s Showtime!” main host Vice Ganda at a fashion show organized by Paul Cabral. “I’m so happy that it finally happened. Nobody introduced us. We just sort of crossed paths and kissed each other on the cheeks. It was a quick meeting since the show was about to start. In all fairness to Vice, he never made any negative comments about me, the board, or the suspension.”

TAGS: Lala Sotto, MTRCB

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