MTRCB TV Ratings Revisited

Three years ago this month, the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) revised the TV ratings and mandated the standards to all free TV networks.

Three years ago this month, the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) revised the TV ratings and mandated the standards to all free TV networks.

THREE YEARS AGO, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, under then Chairperson (now Senator) Grace Poe-Llamanzares, made a universal move in implementing a proper classification in Philippine television.
How did this implementation moved so far? Let’s find out.


The first TV ratings implemented by the national media censors was implemented on November 1, 1995. At that time, TV networks have their own identity of program advisory before each program after given an approval from MTRCB. Only two ratings were used, the General Patronage and Parental Guidance. Only the plain text digital on-screen graphic of “Parental Guidance” on the corner is shown the screen.
Then Chairperson, now Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares was solely responsible for revising the television ratings. However, accusations are thrown against her for "filtering" programs, particularly anime, that their die-hard fans demanded.

Then Chairperson, now Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares was solely responsible for revising the television ratings. However, accusations are thrown against her for “filtering” programs, particularly anime, that their die-hard fans demanded.

With implied violent content increasing, parents and other individuals showed their concern to the posterity exposing such in the media. Because of this, Grace Poe-Llamanzares, the adopted daughter of Fernando “Da King” Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, decided to revise the ratings and standardize the size of the ratings and duration of the advisory to all free TV networks through their Memorandum Circular 05-2011 on October 6, 2011.
Presently, there are three ratings as of February 9, 2012:
  • General Patronage (shown in green rounded rectangle with the Arial Black letters “G”): Children can watch without any troublesome and inappropriate scenes.
  • Parental Guidance (shown in blue with the letters “PG”): Children may watch the series or its episodes as long as an adult or a parent is accompanied, and
  • Strong Parental Guidance (shown in red with letters “SPG”): Children is not advisable to watch the series or its episodes thereof due to grave criteria unless very vigilant guidance and presence of an adult or a parent is accompanied.
The SPG rating must reasonably specifically declared why they rated it as such according to the following criteria: Themes, Language, Violence (Karahasan), Sexual, Horror and Drugs. If the subcategories reach the expectation of having the SPG rating, the qualified subcategories (in a minuscule rounded rectangle) are placed at the bottom of the category.
In G and PG ratings, they air one advisory before the show but SPG airs twice (at the beginning and the middle of the program).

Are news programs exempted from the ratings?

Despite of lack of provisions in the said Memorandum Circular about airing an advisory on news programs, the Big Three (including its sister channels) and IBC 13 neither air any advisory nor the pictogram as the sound reasoning that news varies day to day, unlike teleseryes that have a beginning and an end.
PTV 4 aired only the MTRCB advisory before the news proper except News@6 during weekdays where PTV Sports will segue in by the hosts.
9TV aired only the MTRCB advisory before all news proper.
SMNI 39’s NewsLine applied the advisory and the pictogram; same thing applies to NewsForce Pampanga on GNN 44 but not the national NewsForce itself.

TV networks that have no SPG ratings

Despite of having an SPG pictogram since February 2012, few free TV networks did not have any SPG ratings on their programs and its episodes.
PTV 4, the only VHF network, did not have any SPG rating. However, netizens wanted to earn an SPG rating on Ben Tulfo’s Bitag because of similar model and genre with GMA’s Imbestigador, where the latter received many instances of languages, violence and drugs.
Net 25 do not earn any SPG ratings despite showing their excessive pride of putting Anak TV Seal on most programs, believing that if they earned one instance would yield losing their prestigious badge of kid-friendly programming. The sister network, INC 49, does the same thing sans the Anak TV Seal.
Light Network 33 does the same case as religious standards in programming is concerned as with Net 25 but without the Anak TV Seal.
UNTV 37, the network owned by Bro. Eli Soriano, also did not incur any SPG rating. However, objections raised due to the owner’s religious shows that utter language.

IBC 13, the repeat offender

Last September 1, Mr. Ralph Domingo, the webmaster of From the Tube, posted “IBC-13: Repeat Offenders of the MTRCB Ratings System.” According to Domingo, he pointed non-compliant several programs of the Sick Broadcaster of the Philippines, including:
  • The simulcast of the Gospel of the Kingdom (of Sonshine Media Networks International),
  • Cooltura,
  • Tipong Pinoy,
  • Retro TV,
  • Tagamend,
  • Home Shopping Network, and
  • EZ Shop
The post coincided the unexpected withdrawal of the ATC block but for him, having a saving grace for a quarter of a year from Channel 13’s humiliation remains not enough to suffice the audience’s taste of relevance, added the author.


According to the March 14, 2012 episode of GMA News TV’s Bawal ang Pasaway kay Mareng Winnie, about 80% of the programs reviewed on TV are rated PG, which made children go uneasy in enjoying TV programs.
Netizens once overreacted the new SPG rating for overacting the use of advisory but it is now accepted by most of them. However, some sectors criticized the new ratings game for not giving new programs. Such example is the die-hard anime fans who are persistently accusing the agency for the “outlandish ratings” and its implementing chairperson (Sen. Poe-Llamanzares) as a “Helen Lovejoy”, a “moral junkie” or even a “She-Demon.” However, most observers should not blame the agency and should blame the TV executives, their programming head, and their loyal viewers of the cartoon block.
Others felt that the new ratings are too general in number by psychological-demographic aspects. Adolescents who want to watch mixed martial arts on TV have an SPG rating due to violence where combat contacts, the main core of the said sport, is one reason to draw. It would be difficult to enjoy them as they are no longer children in a psychological way but legally acts as one.


With then Chairman Poe’s smartest move of revising the program ratings by episodic basis, every viewer on the small screen is clear to understand what is appropriate or not. Although it received much complaints due to generic criteria and overreacting perception, for now, MTRCB does it job with the mantra: “Better safe rather than sorry.”
Have a safe Halloween and/or Undas!
[Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and]


  1. I have many problems of MTRCB are concerning the religion and the theme in each program.
    – Just like IBC-13 not just only the “sick broadcaster” but also a depending as “Pinaka-Walang kwentang TV Station” in the Philippines because the agency did not complain the network to follow the MTRCB rules before IBC-13 is now on the “Dead Zone”.
    – SMNI also the offender of MTRCB because all programs are not using the Rating System
    – some cable channels are having a rating system on its own, similar to MTRCB standards (like STAR Movies which they having thier own rating system G, PG, 12, 15 and 18 instead of either SPG or M).
    – unlike the most kids networks that always General Patronage. only Animax and Cartoon Network are the only 2 kids networks who using the “Parental Guidance” Advisory due to content of each cartoon or anime program (such as Adventure Time, Jigoku Shoujo, Space Dandy, et al.) then place a “PG” Graphic on screen.

      1. This December will pay tribute to the king of Filipino movies on his decade after his death

      2. No, from Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s to Noynoy Aquino’s.

        The agency is under the Office of the President. Thus, the President has the authority to appoint the chairperson of MTRCB in his/her discretion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s