Press Release
July 5, 2023

Tolentino: 'Barbie' film's depiction of nine-dash line, 'injurious' to PH's prestige

MANILA - Senator Francis 'TOL' N. Tolentino warned that allowing the local screening of the motion picture 'Barbie' will only lead to "injurious" consequences to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines.

"This will not just be an injurious to the Republic of the Philippines but would be contrary to what our country fought for and achieved under that Arbitral Ruling in 2016," Tolentino, vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said during an interview on CNN Philippines.

"What the effect would be? Something that would dilute our sovereignty," he added.

Tolentino's made the remarks after he earlier urged the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to block the upcoming screening of the Barbie movie, which was directed and produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, after the film's digital illustration of a scene with the so-called 'nine-dash line'--the People's Republic of China's basis of their supposed militaristic expansion in the entire South China Sea (SCS) region, including the zone along the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In 2016, The Hague Tribunal invalidated Beijing's 'nine-dash line doctrine' over the entire SCS region following an arbitration case filed by the Philippine government on January 22, 2013. China's nine-dash line unilaterally encroached territories of other member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"The Arbitral Ruling clearly stated that the claim of China here has no legal basis," Tolentino stressed.

The Vietnamese government already decided to totally ban the screening of Barbie following a review, in which, the depiction of the nine-dash line scene was first noticed.

According to Tolentino, it's up to leadership of the MTRCB on whether to forbid the showing of Barbie, similar to what the said agency did when it decided not to allow the local screening of the films 'Abominable' and 'Unchartered' in 2019 and 2022 respectively, due to their depiction of the nine-dash line.

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