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The Inconsistency of MTRCB’s SPG Rating

The ‘Strong Parental Guidance’ rating was implemented by the MTRCB on February 9, 2012. However, its usage remains inconsistent.

In the last few episodes, GMA gag show ‘Bubble Gang’ carried the blue PG (Parental Guidance) rating instead of the red SPG rating. Despite the downgrade of its rating, the show continued to feature some instances of serious themes and profanity that are deemed too inappropriate for younger audiences. With that in mind, why is the SPG rating remains underutilized by the MTRCB?

The ‘Strong Parental Guidance’ (‘Striktong Patnubay at Gabay’ in Filipino) rating was first used on February 9, 2012. SPG is implemented to programs which contain the following: strong themes, profane languages, violence, sex, horror and drugs, and as a result, they are forced to air the 30-second SPG advisory twice unlike those rated G (General Patronage) or PG. Initially used on a per-episode basis, SPG’s usage became widely known in programs such as ‘Temptation of Wife’ and ‘My Husband’s Lover’, where its tackling of extremely serious issues led to its full implementation of SPG.

However, its usage remains spotty at best. For example, fellow gag shows ‘Banana Split’ and ‘Tropa Mo Ko Unli’ are currently rated SPG by the MTRCB, while ‘Bubble Gang’ has seen its rating downgraded to PG despite the fact that it continues to tackle serious themes. SPG is also utilized in some episodes of both ‘Magpakailanman’ and ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, both of which are predominantly PG-rated. And the now-defunct talk show ‘What’s Up Doods?’ initially carried an SPG rating before it was later downgraded to PG when it started to air reruns.

SPG remains the most underutilized classification rating in Philippine television because of two factors:

1. Only a few programs are willing to push the envelope towards more sensitive topics that may be unsuitable for children

2. Teleseryes have a tendency to feature episodes with more violent scenes, followed by more light-hearted events, and vice versa

If the MTRCB can start using the SPG rating on a per-program basis, then it will benefit both producers and viewers alike in creating new ideas for various programs. The SPG rating is created in order to give producers much-needed input towards creating series with more serious issues, in the process informing the family about the consequences of airing such scenes. Without it, then how will such scenes affect the future of younger individuals?

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2 thoughts on “The Inconsistency of MTRCB’s SPG Rating

  1. First of all, let me say, Gong Xi Fa Cai, Ralph!

    Grace Poe, now a senator, did the smartest thing in MTRCB as a chairperson then: revision and the introduction of the current rating system since October 2011. Nonetheless, the SPG rating is indeed too general to rate certain programs. Despite of the having at least one of the criteria, such as themes, language, violence, sex, horror and drugs, in order to become rated SPG , it prevent adolescents (which is treated like children legally, though psychologically distinct from a child) from enjoying the show.

    I recommend the MTRCB to split the ratings into, say, five: G (applied to all), G-7 (restricted for 7 years and older), PG (parental guidance), PG-13 (restricted for 13 years and older) and SPG (restricted to at least 18 years old and older).

    About five networks, so far, have never harnessed the SPG rating since its inception: PTV 4, Net 25, Light TV 33, UNTV 37 and INC TV 49.

    • All the networks you mentioned air only general interest, news, religious and lifestyle programming. Yung SPG kasi is for some sports and entertainment programs.

      And I agree, MTRCB should have more specific ratings classifications, similar to what the American ratings system do to their programs.

      Gong Xi Fa Cai too Timmy.

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