Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
|Filipino: Lupon sa Pagrerepaso at Pag-uuri ng Sine at Telebisyon|
|Formed||October 5, 1985 (30 years ago)|
|Type||Film and television classification|
|Jurisdiction||Office of the President|
|Headquarters||18 MTRCB Building, Timog Avenue, Quezon City, 1103, Metro Manila, Philippines & Los Angeles, California, United States|
Filipino: “Para sa Matalinong Panonood”|
(English: "For Intelligent Viewing")
|Employees||More than 33|
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (Filipino: Lupon sa Pagrerepaso at Pag-uuri ng Sine at Telebisyon; abbreviated as MTRCB) is a Philippine government agency responsible for the classification and review of television programs, movies and home videos.
Unlike other organizations worldwide (such as the BBFC), the Board does not rate video games. Thus, the ESRB system used in the United States is the de facto rating system used in the Philippines, although there have been attempts at formulating an independent local rating system. Certain video game vendors ask for a valid ID or any other verification to be able to buy M- and AO-rated games. The Board also does not rate literature.
The chairman, the vice-chairman and the other 30 Board members compose the Board. Each one holds office for a term of one year but may be reappointed after the expiration of their term. Lawyer Eugenio H. Villareal is currently the Board chairman appointed since December 2012.
List of board chairperson
|Guillermo de Vega||1969 - 1975|
|Ma. Rocio Atienza de Vega||1975 - 1981|
|Maria Kalaw Katigbak||1981 - 1985|
|Manuel "Manoling" Morato||1986 - 1992|
|Henrietta Silos Mendez||1992 - 1995|
|Jesus C. Sison||1995 - 1998|
|Armida Siguion-Reyna||1998 - 2001|
|Alejandro Roces||2001 - 2002|
|Dennis G. Manicad||2002 - 2003|
|Ma. Consoliza "Marissa" Laguardia||2003 - 2010|
|Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares||2010 - 2012|
|Eugenio "Toto" H. Villareal||2012 - present|
General Audience (“G”)
G Viewers of all ages are admitted. A “G” classification advises parents or supervising adults that the film is suitable for all audiences.
A film classified as “G” shall, in the judgment of the Board, meet the following criteria:
- Theme – The film should not contain violence, threat, abuse, horror, or other themes that may cause fear or disturbance to a young child’s mind.
- Language – The film may contain dialogue or other word representations beyond polite language, but profane, offensive, and sexually-suggestive language or gestures shall not be allowed.
- Nudity – The film may contain occasional, as well as natural non-sexual nudity.
- Sex – The film cannot contain and depict sexual activity.
- Violence – The depiction of any violence must be mild, brief, infrequent, and unlikely to cause undue anxiety or fear to young children.
- Horror – The depiction of horror and frightening scenes should be mild, brief, infrequent, and unlikely to cause undue anxiety or fear to young children.
- Drugs – There shall be no depiction of, or reference to, prohibited drugs or their use.
Parental Guidance (“PG”)
PG Viewers below 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult. A “PG” classification advises parents or supervising adults that the film may contain any of the elements that may not be suitable for children below 13 years of age.
A film classified as “PG” shall, in the judgment of the Board, meet the following criteria:
- Theme – The film may contain themes that require parental supervision and guidance, but should not promote any dangerous, violent, discriminatory, or otherwise offensive behavior or attitude.
- Language – The film may contain mild and infrequent swear words and menacing language. Offensive, menacing, threatening language and references to sex shall always be suitable for viewers who are below 13 years of age. Infrequent, brief and justifiable sexually-suggestive language may be allowed.
- Nudity – The film may contain occasional, as well as natural non-sexual nudity.
- Sex – The depiction of non-graphic sexual activity may be allowed, but it should be discreet, infrequent, and not prolonged.
- Violence – The depiction of non-gratuitous violence and suffering should be minimal, and without graphic detail;.
- Horror – The depiction of brief and infrequent horror and frightening scenes shall be allowed.
- Drugs – There shall be no depiction of, or reference to, prohibited drugs or substances and their use.
R-13 Only viewers who are 13 years old and above can be admitted. An “R-13” classification advises parents, supervising adults, or the would-be viewers themselves, that the film may contain any of the elements that may not be suitable for children below 13 years of age.
A film classified as “R-13” must, in the judgment of the Board, meet the following criteria:
- Theme – The film may contain mature themes but is suitable for teenagers above 13 years of age, and shall not gratuitously promote or encourage any dangerous, violent, discriminatory, or otherwise offensive behavior or attitude.
- Language – The film may contain moderate swear words and menacing language consistent with the context of the scene in which they are employed. The use of infrequent and non-vulgar strong swear words or sexually-derived or suggestive expletives and expressions as well as the use of swear words and expletives shall be allowed. The use of sexually-oriented or suggestive language and other references to sex shall always be suitable for viewers who are at least 13 years of age.
- Nudity – The film may contain brief, discreet and justifiable occasional, natural and sexually-oriented nudity.
- Sex – Discreet, infrequent, brief, non-graphic and justifiable sexual activity may be depicted.
- Violence – Infrequent, non-gratuitous, non-graphic and justifiable violence may be allowed.
- Horror – The justifiable depiction of horror, frightening scenes, and occasional gore are allowed.
- Drugs – The brief, infrequent and justifiable depiction of drugs or their use may be allowed. The movie shall not in any case promote, condone, justify and/or encourage drug use.
R-16 Only viewers who are 16 years old and above can be admitted. An “R-16” classification advises parents and supervising adults that the film may contain any of the elements that may not be suitable for children below 16 years of age.
A film classified as “R-16” must, in the judgment of the Board, meet the following criteria:
- Theme – There are no restrictions on themes; provided that the treatment is appropriate for viewers who are at least 16 years of age.
- Language – The film may use any kind of language.
- Nudity – The film may contain discreet, non-gratuitous and justifiable natural and sexually-oriented nudity.
- Sex – Non-graphic, non-gratuitous and justifiable sexual activity may be depicted.
- Violence – Non-gratuitous and justifiable violence and gore may be allowed.
- Horror – The non-gratuitous and justifiable depiction of horror, frightening scenes, and gore are allowed.
- Drugs – The non-gratuitous and justifiable depiction of drugs or their use may be allowed. The movie shall not in any case promote, condone, and encourage drug use.
R-18 Only viewers who are 18 years old and above can be admitted. An “R-18” classification advises viewers, parents, and supervising adults that the film may contain any of the elements that may not be suitable for children below 18 years of age.
An “R-18” rating does not mean that the film is “obscene”, “offensive”, or “pornographic,” as these terms are defined by law.
A film classified as “R-18” must, in the judgment of the Board, meet the following criteria:
- Theme – There are no restrictions on themes and their treatment.
- Language – The film may use any kind of justifiable language.
- Nudity – The film may contain non-gratuitous and justifiable sexually-oriented nudity.
- Sex – The realistic depiction of non-gratuitous and justifiable sexual activity may be allowed.
- Violence – There are no restrictions on the depiction of non-gratuitous and justifiable violence.
- Horror – The justifiable depiction of horror, frightening scenes, and gore are allowed.
- Drugs – The justifiable depiction of drugs or their use may be allowed. In no case, however, should the use of drugs be promoted, condoned, justified and/or encouraged.
Not for Public Exhibition (“X”)
X “X-rated” films are not suitable for public exhibition.
A film shall be disapproved for public viewing if, in the judgment of the Board:
- The average person, applying contemporary community standards and values, would find that the dominant theme of the work, taken as a whole appeals solely to the prurient interest and satisfies only the craving for gratuitous sex and/or violence.
- The film depicts in a patently lewd, offensive, or demeaning manner, excretory functions and sexual conduct such as sexual intercourse, masturbation and exhibition of the genitals.
- The film clearly constitutes an attack against any race, creed, or religion.
- The film condones or encourages the use of illegal drugs and substances.
- The film tends to undermine the faith and confidence of the people in their government and/or duly-constituted authorities.
- The film glorifies criminals or condones crimes.
- The film is libelous or defamatory to the good name and reputation of any person, whether living or dead.
- The film may constitute contempt of court or of a quasi-judicial tribunal, or may pertain to matters which are subjudicial in nature.
A much publicized use of the X rating by the MTRCB was the issuance of such rating to To Live for the Masses, a documentary film portraying the life of former Philippine president Joseph Estrada in 2006. Certain portions of the film, especially the portions with regard to the 2001 EDSA Revolution, were deemed by the MTRCB to be inciting political rebellion, a charge denied by the producers of the documentary.
The MTRCB has implemented a television content rating system since November 1, 1995. Historically, there were only two television ratings used (see the table below). These ratings consisted of a plain text digital on-screen graphic (or pictogram) appearing on the corner of the screen during a program's run time:
|Plain text only||Parental Guidance|
However, on October 6, 2011, in order to encourage parents to supervise and be responsible with their children in watching television, the rating system was reformatted, with one additional rating added.
The ratings notice are always played before the start or midway of the show. The rating voiceovers are usually in Filipino, but English-aimed TV stations and channels have the ratings notice spoken in English.
General Patronage (“G”)
Suitable for all ages. Material for television, which in the judgment of the Board does not contain anything unsuitable for children. It is most commonly found in any films or documentaries. It used 4:3 anything, but now used letter box 16:9 like Del Monte Kitchenomics, Kapamilya Blockbusters (rarely), and ShopTV commercials (rarely). It appears in TVShop Commercial, other Christian televisions and even Matanglawin also airs General Patronage. A pictogram advisory accompanied by full-screen written and verbal advisory to the effect that the program is classified as “General Patronage” shall be broadcast for at least 10 seconds immediately before the opening credits of the particular television material classified as such.
Parental Guidance / Patnubay at Gabay (“PG”)
Parental guidance suggested. Material for television, which, in the judgment of the Board, may contain some adult material that may be permissible for children to watch but only under the guidance and supervision of a parent or adult. The advisory should be aired before every program rated like Eat Bulaga! and It's Showtime (formerly Showtime), or else other drama series like Encantadia (requel) and Magpakailanman rarely.
The television program classified as “PG” must, in the judgment of the Board, meet the following criteria:
- Theme – More serious issues may be tackled but the treatment must be suitable to children below 13 years old.
- Language – Very mild swear words only shall be allowed. Use of a strong expletive in a sexual context or sexually-based expletives shall not be allowed. Neither shall prolonged and/or successive use of expletives be allowed.
- Nudity – Occasional natural, non-sexual nudity, is permissible.
- Sex – Graphic depiction of sexual activity shall not be permitted. Sexual activity may be implied but with no details shown.
- Violence – There should be no glamorization of weapons and crimes. No detail of fighting or other dangerous techniques. No detail or prolonged showing of violence or suffering.
- Horror – Scary sequences must be mild and brief.
- Drugs – There may only be implied depiction of prohibited drugs and/or substances or their use provided it does not condone, encourage or glamorize drug and/or substance use and it should be necessary to the theme and characterization.
A pictogram advisory accompanied by full-screen written and verbal advisory to the effect that the program is classified as “Parental Guidance” shall be broadcast for at least 10 seconds immediately before the opening credits of the particular television material classified as such.
Strong Parental Guidance / Striktong Patnubay at Gabay (“SPG”)
Stronger and more vigilant parental guidance is suggested. Programs classified as “SPG” may contain more serious topic and theme, which may not be advisable for children to watch except under the very vigilant guidance and presence of a parent or an adult.
The television program classified as “SPG” must still fall within the parameters of existing Parental Guidance classification rating. However, to merit the issuance of an “SPG” rating, the gravity of the material must, in the judgment of the Board, be leaning towards the maximum allowable for Parental Guidance rating. In determining the proper classification rating, the Board shall consider the purpose, genre, and time slot of the program as well as the treatment and depiction of attendant factors such as, but not limited to: Theme (Tema), Language (Lenggwahe), Violence (Karahasan), Sex (Sekswal), Horror and Drugs (Droga).
In the exercise of its judgment, the Board shall take due consideration of balancing the interest of the State to protect the welfare of the youth with the interest of the broadcast networks to freedom of expression.
A pictogram advisory accompanied by a full-screen written advisory with voice over to the effect that the program is classified as “Strong Parental Guidance” shall be broadcast for at least 20 seconds, immediately before the opening credits and midway in the full airing of the particular television material classified as such. The full-screen advisory shall specifically declare the content descriptors pertinent to the program being shown, such as but not limited to: Theme (Tema), Language (Lenggwahe), Violence (Karahasan), Sex (Sekswal), Horror and Drugs (Droga).
Disapproved for Airing on Television (“X”)
Any television program that does not conform to the “G”, “PG” or “SPG” classification shall be disapproved for television broadcast. The material shall be disapproved for television broadcast if, in the judgment of the Board applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard, it is objectionable for being immoral, indecent, contrary to law and/or good customs, injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines or its people, or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence, or of a wrong, or crime, such as but not limited to:
- The work depicts in a patently lewd, offensive, or demeaning manner, excretory functions, and sexual conduct such as sexual intercourse, masturbation and exhibition of the genitals.
- The work clearly constitutes an attack against any race, creed or religion.
- The work condones or encourages the use of illegal drugs and substances.
- The work tends to undermine the faith and confidence of the people in their government and/or duly constituted authorities.
- The work glorifies criminals or condones crimes.
- The work is libelous or defamatory to the good name and reputation of any person, whether living or dead.
- The work may constitute contempt of court of a quasi-judicial tribunal, or may pertain to matters, which are subjudicial in nature.
All programs shown by the television channels are reviewed and classified by the said board. The board may suspend, reject or cancel programs, but cannot revoke broadcast licenses.
National and local newscasts are exempted from the ratings system (except in the case of selected news stories, such as ABS-CBN's TV Patrol, which uses an SPG graphic for stories which are related to harsh violence or depending on the theme of the story).
Some regional news programs air a PG advisory before the show, which may violate the rules. These circumstances, however, do not affect the program itself.
MTRCB cannot censor, rate, and use its power in films and shows presented in the University of the Philippines Film Center and its various grounds and venues.
This timeline shows when did the networks first used the system (this pertains only to the G and PG ratings, the SPG rating has been adopted simultaneously by almost all of the networks).
- ABS-CBN, S+A (formerly Studio 23), ANC (selected programs only) and PTV on October 6, 2011
- UNTV on October 7, 2011
- Shop TV on October 8, 2011
- GMA and GNTV on October 10, 2011
- TV5, AksyonTV and IBC on October 11, 2011
- Net 25 on October 12, 2011
- Light Network on October 14, 2011
- RPN, RJTV and SBN on October 26, 2011.
- BEAM TV on October 30, 2011
- GNN and Global Pinoy Cinema on October 31, 2011
- SMNI on January 26, 2012.
- INC TV (formerly GEM TV), on April 12, 2012.
- Jeepney TV on January 1, 2014
The board gave a deadline of until October 31, 2011 for the other national, local, cable, and satellite television networks to switch onto the new graphic, although some of the programs adopted the system at a later date, or did not adopt at all. Cable channels (e.g., CNN Philippines, 2nd Avenue and ETC) that are carried by Free TV affiliates are required to follow the new rating system.
Myx, a cable television channel of ABS-CBN, originally adopted the blue PG graphic on October 6 for the majority of their programs, but reverted to the static Parental Guidance DOG only two weeks after, only in showing music videos with graphic content. This was due to the fact that it may be hard to place the PG DOG while a music video is played along with the lyrics being shown at the same time. Jeepney TV, ABS-CBN News Channel and DZMM TeleRadyo also added the blue 'PG', green 'G' and red 'SPG' graphic at the same time as its mother network, but it is only applied to its public affairs programs which also air on ABS-CBN. Selected programs from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao contain these ratings are aired from ABS-CBN Regional.
Among local cable networks, ABS-CBN's Yey!, Cine Mo!, Balls, Global Pinoy Cinema and Lifestyle Network as well as Solar Entertainment's Solar Sports and Jack TV continue to adopt the earlier static 'Parental Guidance' graphic on their programs (although channels like Cinema One, Pinoy Box Office, Tagalized Movie Channel and Telenovela Channel have a full screen advisory regularly aired before the movie without the static 'Parental Guidance' graphic) together with Sari-Sari Channel, the newest cable channel owned by TV5 Network Inc. and Viva Communications Inc. starting January 15, 2016.
IBC 13 does not use either the blue 'PG', green 'G' or red 'SPG' graphics on programs and documentaries produced by the government-controlled Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), considering that they are information-based materials.
STAR Movies uses its own rating system, while Fox has '15', '16' and '18' and Cartoon Network has 'PG' rating systems for selected programs which contains themes, violence, adult content, and thriller.
Since January 1, 2013, Jack TV uses the abbreviated PG and SPG on the bottom right corner of the screen indicating the rating of the show. As the channel does not subscribe to MTRCB's new system, the SPG rating does not have sub-ratings.
Suspension of other shows
Not only does MTRCB rates shows and films, they can also suspend a certain show for a few days to a few months depending on the violation. The following are the notable, scandalous events that earned shows a suspension.g
- On August 6, 1999 Magandang Tanghali Bayan was suspended for 20 days when the show's host Willie Revillame, Randy Santiago and John Estrada on its segment "Calendar Girls" for making their jokes vulgar and disrespectful.
- On August 16, 2004 preventively suspended the showing of the Ang Dating Daan for 20 days due to slander and use of offensive and obscene language by its televangelist-host Eliseo Soriano, as a mean of disciplinary action.
- The Eda Nolan's wardrobe malfunction in Wowowee, which happened on May 12, 2007, earned the show a three-day suspension.
- The controversial suspension of a documentary program i-Witness after showing a unique ritual dance from Laguna "The Lukayo"
- The month-long suspension of Showtime due to an inappropriate comment of one of its guest judges Rosanna Roces to the Filipino teachers.
- Willing Willie received a month-long suspension after a child performed a suggestive dance while crying in front of the audience and on its live broadcast.
- The 20-day suspension of T3: Kapatid Sagot Kita, as a result of the hosts Ben, Erwin and Raffy Tulfo's harsh and vengeful verbal responses at actors Raymart Santiago and Claudine Baretto on its live broadcast. Before that, a brawl between their brother, Ramon Tulfo and on the latter couple happened in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. TV5 has questioned the board's decision to suspend the program, stating that the action was heavy-handed and called it an act of censorship, though it was then lifted after a couple of days.
- On May 30, 2012 the MTRCB imposed a 3-month suspension to T3: Kapatid Sagot Kita from May 31 to August 31, 2012 without cancellation, regarding to the same issue as above. After the suspension the program will be still under probation or per-episode permit until the board is convinced. Chairwoman Grace Poe-Llamanzares stated that MTRCB has the full jurisdiction in the program. However, the suspension was once again lifted on June 21, this time under a 60-day temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals.
- The episode Manika on ABS-CBN's Maalaala Mo Kaya was slated to be aired on June 2, 2012 but was pulled off after MTRCB granted it rated X regarding the sensitive rape theme. The episode finally aired on June 30, 2012 after given SPG rating for final televised airing.
- The TV-channel TVE Internacional's broadcast was suspended by the MTRCB because of sexual content. It was only unclear if the broadcast had been stopped only by SkyCable or all of the cable companies nationwide.
- The HBO mini-series Entourage was blocked for 3 weeks on SkyCable because it has not yet been reviewed by the MTRCB. But on other cable operators, the series was broadcast without any interruption.
The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP; English: Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines), an association unrelated to the government, governs censorship on radio, although it can only reprimand its own members.
Unlike the theatrical ratings, only three are applied to video releases and printed on labels: General Audience (G) for films previously rated G in cinemas, Parental Guidance (PG) for most PG and some R-13 or R-16 titles (with cuts for the R-ratings), and Restricted For Adults (R) for some R-13, many R-16, and most R-18 titles [without cuts for R-16 and R-18, including films released unrated or with adults-only rating equivalents (e.g. R, 18+, M18, NC-17, Category III, R21) outside the Philippines]. This system was only used until 2015.
Since 2015, the theatrical ratings were applied as home video ratings, replacing the old three-rating system that home video titles used to have.
MTRCB does not govern nor censors TV shows and movies on the internet, but video streaming services such as iflix, HOOQ and Netflix have its own rating system, depend on the show's content. However, numerous reports indicated that some others are shown on illegitimate websites (and particularly on popular video-sharing websites like YouTube), subjected to online piracy.
- "Restrictions On Video Games Proposed". Manila Bulletin. Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation. January 6, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
- "MTRCB, may bago nang chairman" (in Tagalog). DZMM. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "Chapter IV – Movie, Television and Trailer Classification". 2004 Implementing Rules and Regulations. Philippines: Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Classfication ng TV ratings, nirepaso ng MTRCB" (in Tagalog). DZMM. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Cruz, Marinel (6 October 2011). "MTRCB revises rating system for TV shows". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Matabuena, Julien Merced (6 October 2011). "Revised TV classifications launched by MTRCB". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- "Bagong rating na 'Strong Parental Guidance,' ilulunsad ng MTRCB" (in Tagalog). DZMM. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- "MTRCB suspends Tulfos' TV show for 20 days, TV5 cries 'censorship'". GMA News. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "MTRCB suspends Tulfo bros' show for threats against Raymart Santiago". GMA News. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "CA, pinayagan ang muling pagpapalabas ng programa ng Tulfo Bros." (in Tagalog). DZMM. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Official website of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
- Official website of the Optical Media Board
- Official website of the Association of the Philippine Broadcasters