Commission on Women, MTRCB partner to advance gender concerns in GMA7

Sexuality is healthy but sexualization is not. In TV programs and films, critical attention should be given to the treatment of language, sexual and gender issues, and violence.

These were some of the highlighted messages during Gender Sensitivity Seminar for GMA7 on March 10, with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) at the helm, and with Sr. Consolata O. Manding of Paulines Institute of Communication in Asia and Ma. Gichelle A. Cruz, a PCW consultant, as resource persons.

Several GMA7 executives and “Party Pilipinas” artists and staff participated in the springboard discussion on gender and development (GAD) issues in media, TV/film sensitivities and responsible programming, the first of its kind in Philippine history. “GMA7, MTRCB, and PCW are making history together,” MTRCB Chairperson Eugenio “Toto” Villareal said.

“The seminar should be seen as a blessing in disguise to advance gender concerns in GMA 7,” Villareal emphasized. The Sunday noontime variety show is under a 6-month probation period after airing a “sexually charged” episode last January 27.

GMA 7 Research, Contracts, and Litigation lawyer Atty. Jose Vener Ibarra welcomed the conduct of the Gender Sensitivity Seminar. “I think the overall theme of the activity is change,” Ibarra said adding that it “should translate” to more programs with GAD content. “Being sensitive to the issues of women and men can help produce better TV program episodes without compromising artistry,” Villareal added.

Cruz discussed that hypersexualization among the youth is very rampant. “As media practitioners, you can send a message to the audience that you do not need to be hot to be accepted,” she said. Sr. Manding added that anything can be put into a movie or TV program but the way it was handled “makes all the difference.”

“Party Pilipinas” Director Mark Reyes said MTRCB should have “clear cut” guidelines in classifying TV programs based on content. “How much blood do we show? When do we say a woman is wearing an overly sexy dress?” Reyes asked. Villareal said MTRCB has already came up with a handbook and he expects GMA7’s liaison officers to disseminate those.

MTRCB Board Member and GAD Committee Chairperson Robert “Bobby” Andrews stressed the importance of the formula for responsible programming. “Audience analysis plus audience responsibility plus industry self-regulation is equal to responsible programming,” he said. He added that the government and private media are accountable under Republic Act 9710, otherwise known as the Magna Carta of Women (MCW), to promote “non-discriminatory” and “non-derogatory” portrayals of women.

Master Showman and GMA Consultant German “Kuya Germs” Moreno expressed GMA 7’s commitment to continue “making Filipinos happy” through TV programs. He also echoed PCW and MTRCB’s call for artists to exercise responsibility especially since fans look up to them for moral guidance. “We need to be cautious in our programs to avoid sending wrong messages. Wardrobe malfunctions and the like can be avoided,” Moreno said in Filipino.

PCW stressed that GMA 7 and MTRCB are “united” in the pursuit of giving Filipinos quality TV programming. Follow-up network-wide seminars and trainings on GAD are expected to be conducted after GMA 7 has assigned its GAD Focal Point Persons who will be responsible in making sure that the network is complying with the MCW and MTRCB memoranda.