Quit, Rufus tells MTRCB execs

July 13, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 1856 views

CAGAYAN de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Thursday called for the resignation of all members of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) “for failing to support and uphold our national interest.”

He made the call following MRTCB’s decision to allow the screening of the movie “Barbie” starting July 19.

The film, starring Margot Robbie, reportedly contains a depiction or reference to China’s expansive nine-dash-line territorial claim over the South China Sea, including parts of the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Rodriguez aired his resignation appeal a day after the seventh-year anniversary of the country’s historic victory in the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, which invalidated Beijing’s assertion of its extended maritime domain.

The court also ruled that some islands in the South China Sea which are occupied by China belong to the Philippines as they are inside the latter’s EEZ.

“I am dismayed and disappointed by MRTCB’s decision. The inclusion in the movie of China’s illegal nine-dash-line claim is against our national interest, which the board apparently does not appreciate. Those officials should not stay in government any minute longer,” Rodriguez said.

He said the MRTCB members’ vote to allow the commercial showing of the controversial movie “embarrasses and demeans the country and the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. before the international community.”

He added that it is ironic that Vietnam has banned “Barbie” for its “dubious content while the MTRC obviously wants to promote Beijing’s baseless expansive territorial claim in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.”

The MTRCB justified it decision by saying, “The Board believes that, all things considered, it has no basis to ban the film ‘Barbie’ as there is no clear nor outright depiction of the ‘nine-dash line’ in the subject of the film.”

Rodriguez said the board’s statement “is an admission that there is a portrayal of China’s claim in the movie, though it was not, to use the agency’s own language, ‘clear nor outright’.”

“A direct or indirect insult is still an insult. If you don’t get that, MTRCB, shame on you!” he said.

“If its Vietnam counterpart has found it offensive, why can’t MTRCB? he asked.

The Mindanao lawmaker has been a consistent critic of China’s encroachment and aggressive activities in the West Philippine Sea and the country’s EEZ.