Press Release
September 20, 2022

Poe-led finance subcommittee OKs MTRCB's P111.9-M budget for 2023

The Senate subcommittee on finance led by Sen. Grace Poe has approved the P111.9-million budget of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) for 2023.

The proposed budget of the agency for next year will be brought to the plenary for deliberation and amendments.

On Tuesday's hearing, Poe vowed to endorse to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the inclusion of the P15-million fund for capital outlay for the agency's purchase of monitoring equipment, which was not incorporated in the proposal.

"Only a small amount is being asked from the national government, and the rest will come from the agency, so there should be no issue there," Poe said.

"Maayos ang equipment ng MTRCB so let's keep it that way. I will fully support your request, I think that's justified. Just give us an accounting of exactly where it's going and I will endorse it to the DBM during our plenary deliberations. The Secretary, I hope, will heed our request," she added.

Of the P111.9-million, only the P47 million for personnel services will come from the national government. The P64.3-million allocation for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses will be sourced from the MTRCB's "sinking fund," consisting of the agency's revenue collections.

Poe hailed the MTRCB, which she once headed, for being one of the few agencies that remit money to the national government "even if it's considered a small agency."

MTRCB chairperson Diorella "Lala" Sotto-Antonio told the panel the sinking fund currently stands at P570 million. Utilization of the fund, however, needs approval of the DBM.

Sen. Nancy Binay proposed a review of the guidelines that would make it easier for MTRCB to access its own fund.

During the hearing, Sotto also told the panel that the MTRCB's review and classification functions only cover television and movie contents, but not materials being streamed online.

Poe said this should be studied to give the agency jurisdiction over materials being streamed on various platforms.

"With the hardworking chairperson of the committee on public information, we can draft something that will not make it more stringent but will allow some sort of evaluation if they're doing their own classification in case they're showing it here," Poe said.

"I'm sure if it's threat to national security, it can very well be under the purview of National Telecommunications Commission to cancel the streaming service," she added.

Poe continued, "But right now, the MTRCB has no jurisdiction over those online apps so if you can help us with the wording, I'm sure the chairperson of the public information committee will take a look at it and we can improve it."

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