In defense of the Filipino teacher

By Mag Cruz Hatol – It took a has-been with a storied past to push broadcast giant ABS CBN to a corner. Regrettably it was a hugely popular daily program that suffered as a result of two indiscretions committed by the same person. Talk about bad luck and guests who wear thin their welcome.

Our mouth dropped when Rosanna Roces reacted to co-judge Vice Ganda’s comment during the January 4 episode of the show ‘’It’s Showtime’’ by mouthing near expletives (to wit: “Walanghiya ka talaga, hayop ka, demonyo ka”…)

That incident alone resulted in the filing of a complaint against the TV station. It was a probable violation of section 3(C) of PD No. 1986.

Three days later, it was not mere shock anymore but anger that overtook us when we heard Roces coaxing a child contestant to “curse their teachers”. Not content, she bragged that as a student, she did the same to get even when instructors did not teach them well. “Murahin mo yung teacher mo. Ako minura ko yung teacher ko nung hindi niya sinagot sa akin ‘yan.”

We imagine there was a collective cry of dismay and indignation from teachers watching the program when the has been star mocked educators: “Oo, walanghiya yang mga teacher na yan, hindi sinasabi ang totoo sa atin!”

MTRCB Chair Consoliza P. Laguardia was judicious when she immediately acted on a slew of complaints, both verbalized and written. Her office is constantly vigilant. They did not have to summon the TOA (taped-on-air) material from ABS-CBN. Special agents of MTRCB’s Monitoring and Inspection unit had monitored and even recorded the episode.

The evidence was patently clear. What followed was, in the eyes of millions, a correct decision: to take Roces to task for her maliciousness, insensitivity and irresponsibility!

HUGE CRIME

Defaming educators wholesale is a huge crime, not a mere misdemeanor, especially in a country where teachers are highly regarded. In every Filipino family, there is likely a teacher somewhere in the ancestry line.

In the eyes of others, however, the 20-day suspension meted out to the program was harsh and overboard.

There are advertising contracts to honor; performing troops anxious to be accommodated for their three minutes of fame, a horde of people waiting to be let in to watch and legions tuned in daily. To the station, it was a blow to business. And business had not been good for some time. A three week suspension indeed hurts.

Hearings would have commenced by the time of publication. MTRCB is allowed to suspend shows pending hearings, to wit “Any time during the pendency of the case, and in order to prevent or stop further violations or for the interest and welfare of the public, the Chairman of the Board may issue a Preventive Suspension order mandating the preventive seizure of offending motion pictures and related publicity materials and/or suspension of the permit/permits involved and/or closure of the erring movie house, television network, cable TV station and other related establishments or the temporary/preventive dismantling or tearing down of public signs and billboards provided that the temporary/preventive order thus issued shall have a life of not more than twenty days from the date of issuance.”

The crux of the suspension order emanates from the fact that even while ‘’Showtime’’ enjoys a Parental Guidance (PG) classification, the utterance of vulgar/swear language by guest Rosanna Roces made it undeserving of such. There was therefore palpable violation so the station was summoned for a hearing on Jan. 14.

LANDMARK CASE

This could be the landmark case many have been waiting for. The MTRCB can finally address the PG warning that seems to be plastered on practically all TV programs. The constancy and near permanence on air of the said warning has led viewers to ignore it.

Every single live telecast is rated PG, even the Pope’s message from Vatican! While we understand the protective nature of the warning, surely some brilliant mind at MTRCB would be able to find a smart way around it. Until such brilliant mind comes up with a worthy alternative, we have to live with the PG sign or risk seeing an assault on the pope live and in full color which nearly happened a few weeks ago.

‘’Showtime’’ was zooming phenomenally in the ratings games that even the host of another popular noontime program was already showing signs of paranoid insecurity. The ire of many when it was given a preventive suspension order is understandable. Chair Laguardia’s swift and decisive move is laudable nevertheless because it demonstrated her impartiality and no-nonsense stance.

Says Laguardia: “I hope artists would be more prudent in expressing themselves on TV, especially on live telecasts. Children, being highly impressionable, can easily pick up and imitate foul language and vulgar ideas, especially if they hear them from celebrities. At MTRCB, as in every Filipino home, we aim to promote respect for parents, elders and people in authority like teachers. After all, this is part of our culture.”

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