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UNCENSORED: Anyone can comment on a public issue

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By Manuel L. Morato

In the launching of Oracur worldwide at Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas Avenue, there were members of the press “hungry” to hear from me because of what they also feel inappropriate and improper.  It’s about Sharon Cuneta’s “Revirginized” movie title.  I did not bring up the issue, they did.  Tinanong lang ako what I have to say regarding the title “Revirginized.”  I had to answer for I had mention said movie title in my column a couple of months ago when I first heard of it and saw that it as well in the plugging of ABS-CBN repeatedly.  That alone has a mind conditioning effect on the young.

Much as I don’t want to be interviewed anymore, I did not see anything wrong to comment on a public issue.  Even if I am no longer involved with the MTRCB, as a private citizen, I can comment.

Let not the public, nor the MTRCB think that I am meddling with their work.  I just have one thing to say: It’s a great responsibility the office you find yourselves in.  Protect the public, most especially the young for their future is now in your hands.  Follow what the law dictates you to do.

I don’t know if they have loosened up in their classification and regulations.  But as far as I know, they have not changed the rules and regulations.  Pareho pa rin kasi dapat iaakyat nila muna sa Malacanang, or Office of the President for approval.  As far as I know, no changes were made.

Who said that films shown on video no longer pass the MTRCB for review and permit for public exhibition?

Assuming that the present MTRCB no longer handles the review on tape.  The Videogram Regulatory Board (VRB) or the Optical Media Board (OMB) have the duty to perform.

Are films on tape free from review and classification?  That is not supposed to be in limbo.  Said films on tape must be reviewed and classified or they cannot be shown publicly on television, nor sold on video shops.

If some think there is no longer a need for review by a government office tasked to review, classify and pass or ban or sanitize portions not allowed by law to be shown publicly on TV or aired without permit, that cannot be allowed.

I call on the government, more so the Office of the President to look into this matter.  You know why?  Film is a very powerful medium and it can even destabilize a government.

When I took over the MTRCB in 1986 when the late President Cory appointed me MTRCB Chairman, those were tough times for I had to battle with the bomba films that proliferated nationwide.  It was tough.  Aside from that, there were programs done by the military group which tended to destabilize the new government.  The destabilization efforts continued and I had to turn down their CDs to be shown on television.  That, too, I stopped.

The MTRCB, the Videogram Regulatory Board (VRB) and/or the Optical Media Board (OMB), were tasked to review all that runs on film for public airing.  Be careful on this for the film is the most powerful medium that can invade every home without permission.

It’s either films on subversion, violence, salacious, vulgarity, etc… cannot be allowed for anything aired on television must show only up to Parental Guidance.  No adult rating much less X rated films can be shown on television.  There is a place for that … X-rated theaters.

I suggest the MTRCB, VRB or the OMB to do some studies on the film boards around the world and you will understand why the British Film Board is one of the best, if not the best.

The Film Board of America is composed of parents as members and they, too, are conservative and responsible people.

There are those who may think that America is too loose on this aspect.  Not true.  People have the wrong perception.  Bold films, erotic films and extreme violence are X-rated and can only be shown in X-rated theaters in cities with 5 million and above population.  It is presumed that they are more sophisticated already.

They are banned in small cities and towns which are not allowed to have X rated theaters.  Even in big cities, there are only a few in the red light districts of the city.  Even Lino Brocka’s film, “Orapronobis,” was rated X by the Film Board of America based in New York.  It was relegated to be shown in an X-rated cinema in New York City.  Only eleven people watched it.  I had it monitored for it was smuggled out of the country by a stewardess of Air France.  Films exported abroad must secure export permit from the Central Bank; and the requirement is for the MTRCB to approve before the Central Bank can grant the request.

I proposed it to the Senate in the heat of our differences of cutting and sanitizing films that could still be salvaged by cutting/extracting portions not allowed by law and allow the film to be shown.

The British Film Board cuts almost all the films.  Cuss words or whatever they feel inappropriate to show.  Halos lahat ng British films may 15 seconds or 30 seconds cuts or less that is inappropriate for public exhibition.

Akala ng mga members ng “Artists Guild of the Philippines” na tayo lang ang nagpuputol o nagsa-sanitize ng pelikula.  Wrong!  President Marcos simply read and studied the Film Boards abroad and made a law for us to follow.  It’s a damn good law! Sanitizing a film is NOT censorship.  It’s classification.  

Sino namang magulang in his/her right mind would allow their children to watch vulagarities, salaciousness and outright pornographic to be seen by their minor children?  Or grandchildren?

It was the toughest six years I had in the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) kasi, as I was informed, no one lasted in that office for more than 3 years.  I finished my six year term of President Cory.

I was rallied and cursed infront of my building here on Morato Avenue every Sunday with the members of the Artist Guild of the Philippines (or whatever it was called).  My mother told me: “Hijo, do not answer back no matter what they say.  Huwag ka na sumagot.”  I followed.  Tiniis ko lahat ng mura at masasamang salita.  May kasama silang Congressmen and politicians siguro for exposure and publicity kasi kasama nga naman ang movie and television film industries.

Guess what?  Namatay na yong mga leaders, pati some politicians with them.  Isa-isang nawala.

One thing, I simply imposed the law, nothing more, nothing less.  Hindi ko naman sila inaway.  Sila ang nakipag-away sa akin.

I later found out na sinasadya pala akong awayin because they have a film due for release or coming out.  Sabi ba naman sa akin ni Armida (may she rest in peace), alam mo ba pag may pelikula kami na malapit ng ipalabas, we get free publicity pag inaway ka namin.  Nafo-frontpage ang aking pelikula for free.

Pag kami lang ni Armida, mabait siya sa akin, sa totoo lang.  She would smirk and smile at me when there are people around, off camera.

On her 40th Wedding Anniversary, I received an invitation to her big party in her house in Dasmariñas Village.  In the invitation it said: “Inspirational Speaker, Chairman Manuel Morato.”  I was still MTRCB Chairman then na pirmi niya ako inaaway.  I was surprised that she would invite me.

I delivered a short message: “Armida and Sid, marriage is not only between two persons.  It’s between two families as well.  So, Armida love Sid and his family; and Sid, love Armida and her family.  Good luck and God bless both of you.  Happy 40th Anniversary.”

On my way out, Sid accompanied me to my car.  Believe it or not, this was what he said to me: “Manoling, awayin mo si Armida.  Tama ka naman.”

I had the chance to tell Armida: “Alam mo, you made me popular, nationwide.  I did not want to be popular.  Look what you have done to me.  I can’t even walk in the shopping centers; neither in Session Road in Baguio for I was being approached by people who want to be pictured with me.  Look what you have done to me.  Nakakahiya to be posing publicly, kasi ayaw ko yang kaartistadahan for I am NOT an impressionable person.  Baka akalain ng tao na gusto ko mapansin.  Hindi ko gusto yang ugaling artista.”

Hindi ko po talaga ugali magpapansin.  Unfortunately, I was placed in the two most controversial positions in government service.  Both MTRBC and PCSO were high profile positions.

In the MTRCB, I was up against the porno film and my battle landed in the front pages; and another controversial position was my PCSO Chairmanship.  It was the legal Lotto against the illegal jueteng.

However, I survived the two high profile government agencies with honesty and no corruption whatsoever.

Many of those who were with me sa PCSO are still alive.  Ask them if I ever accepted bribe.  Never!  It’s a legacy I can leave behind; and those who tried to destroy me, may go with a one-way ticket to hell!!!

Sharon, don’t get angry.  You got what you were actually waiting for… free publicity!

I don’t mean to give it free publicity.  But if it makes you happy, so be it!   

Hindi na matatanggal sa isip ng tao ang pagka MTRCB Chairman ko once upon a time. Neither din yong pagka PCSO Chairman ko; at habang buhay pa yong mga kasamahan ko nong panahon ko, tanungin ninyo sila kung ako’y nanghingi ng kung ano man.  Just don’t ask ang mga tauhan ni Margie Juico at sila ang naninira sa akin.  Lahat ng kasalanan ni Margie Juico, nababasa ko, ako daw ang gumawa.  Grabe ang mga bunganga, up and down!!!

Akala ba ninyo hindi ko nababasa ang paninira ninyo sa akin?  Lahat kayo bayaran to erase the bad image of Margie Juico at my expense.  Paid hacks lahat; and I know who they are.  But the people know the truth.  So, why waste my time.

Again, I leave it to Divine Justice.  Ma-karma na lang sila.

499 employees were fired when Margie took over kasi appointees ko daw sila.  Hindi po totoo yon.  She did it to stack the PCSO with her own people.  Puro kawatan.  Kawawa ang PCSO, lalo na ang mga mahihirap na hindi nila tinulungan.  They helped themselves.  Period! 

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