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Madam Chairman

If Rachel performance were rated according to the classifications used by the agency she heads, it's got to be G for good job

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Her first anniversary as Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chair is still in September but even this early, Rachel Arenas has been receiving good feedback from all its stakeholders.

MTRCB Chairperson Rachel Arenas (mb.com.ph)

MTRCB Chairperson Rachel Arenas

At a recent lunch with select members of media, the former Pangasinan congresswoman talked about her hopes for the agency responsible for rating television shows and films for the country.

She wants people to see MTRCB not just a board, but an.office that helps the industry succeed.

“Although we have limited resources, I want to help filmmakers succeed by making their lives easier,” she said. “Ako naman, I’m very lenient, kung pwede naman at pasok naman (ang gawa nila na mabigyan ng hangad nilang classification), parang bakit ko kailangang pahirapan pa ‘di ba?”

On the board’s recent projects, the chairman said her team has taken former MTRCB chair-turned-senator Grace Poe’s “Matalinong Panonood” campaign to far-flung areas in the country.

“Everyone has TV these days regardless of social class which is why it’s very important to guide the public in choosing what their children should or should not watch,” Rachel explained. “So what we do is, we immerse ourselves in the communities we visit. Also, we hold full movie showings sa mga baranggay kasi marami du’n hindi pa nakakapanood sa cinema.”

Rachel, a Pinoy movie love​r​, is the type who is open to learning. She’s been exchanging ideas with key people in the region and even beyond.

In fact, the chair was in South Korea recently to learn more on how the Korean Media Rating Board (KMRB) works. What she saw there was a much larger and very different model for regulation with multiple sub-committees.

“Alam niyo ba nagre-review sila ng 2,200 films a year? We want to duplicate how they got a sub-committee,” she noted. “Merong ginagawang memorandum of agreement ngayon with different agencies so we can collaborate with Korean media kasi we could learn so much from them”

“There’s some things needed to be change. So right now, we are working harder in improving the agency by dissemination information to public and by collaborating with different partners,” she added.

Under the law

Rachel pointed out the job of the Board is not easy.

The chairman said she hopes she would not be embroiled in acrimonious controversies, maintaining that she only follows MTRCB’s laws and guidelines.

She also noted that implementing TV and film ratings is not her sole responsibility. Rachel tells everyone MTRCB has “30 different board members with different characters.”

“Kasi may kanya-kanyang ugali sila eh. But fortunately, after a year, ang tingin ko na-settle na naman sila,” she shared. “Halimbawa, ‘yung sa pagbibigay ng X-ratings, hindi naman siya na-tripan lang kumbaga may rason talaga (kapag binibigay yon).”

Speaking of those films who merited an X-rating, Rachel encourages them to go for second review.

“Kasi on the second review, there are a committee of five tapos the ones that reviewed before, cannot review anymore. ‘Yung committee of five, magre-review sila base du’n sa guidelines,” she explained.

Rachel expounded, “After the review, the board will meet with the producers. Kasi they have an ideal rating ‘di ba, if hindi na-meet ‘yun, maguusap sila. Usually sasabihin na ‘Tanggalin na ‘yung scene na (inappropriate).’ Ganu’n ‘yung proseso.”

How does she relate with people of contradicting convictions?

“I always remind them (board members) na we can be strict as long as its substantiated. At the end of the day, our concern kasi is the public talaga. Wala namang (bagay ang) hindi napag-uusapan,” she said.

The mid-term election is more than 15 months away but this early, several names are already being floated for different positions.

Asked if she plans to run for higher position in 2019, Rachel noted “I have no definite plans yet,” but revealed she is open to possibilities.

“I guess lahat naman ng public servants, they want to serve in a higher position. I’m not going to deny it. In fact, nitong nakaraang eleksyon some people na na-meet ko, they texted me asking if tatakbo daw ba ako. I felt na… itong mga taong ‘to minsan lang ako makausap and yet they remember me, parang they give me positive vibes. So let’s see, maybe at the right time,” she said. (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)

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