Philippine lawmaker seeks classifications on video games

January 07, 2013 - 1:23:13 am

MANILA: The vice chairman of the House committee on children’s welfare yesterday urged local executives to immediately enforce regulatory classifications for video games that are sold in stores or played in gaming arcades as many of them promote violence or sexual promiscuity.

Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep Bernadette Herrera-Dy said that there is no specific government agency that classifies video games. She said the age and content ratings being imposed by the international Entertainment Software Rating Board on video games do not strictly bind compliance in the Philippines because there are no locally produced video games.

Herrera-Dy issued the call in the wake of gun-related violence in the country with the Caloocan City and Cavite shootings resulting in the death of nine persons, including two children.

She warned that violent video games are readily available to minors in their homes and in gaming arcades, and are easily accessed from various websites.

“In fact the New York Times has reported that a website promoting a popular video game has tapped manufacturers of a high-powered sniper and assault guns as among its advertising sponsors,” she said.

Herrera-Dy said that under her proposal, local government units must impose classification standards for access to video game CDs sold in stores or those played in mall fun centres and Internet shops.

She said the audience classification ratings of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board could be used as the same standard of classification for video and Internet games in the meantime.

She vowed to file several anti-gun control and violence prevention measures such as the video game classification standards, believing that strong public support may give these proposals a good chance of being passed into law before the closing of the 15th Congress in June.

“In the absence of national laws that would ensure stringent gun licensing regulations and violence prevention measures, local government units may step in because they are capable of taking quick and determined steps to protect their constituents from a culture of violence that has slowly crept into our communities,” she said.

Herrera-Dy admitted that there is no direct connection between video games and the incidence of firearm violence, but “this should not deter local and national legislative bodies to pass laws against video game violence, most of which are even more brutal and ruthless than those committed in real life.”

The Philippine Star