Restrictions On Video Games Proposed

MANILA, Philippines --- The vice chairperson of the House committee on children's welfare yesterday batted for the implementation of a regulatory classifications system for video games, saying that brutal acts of violence depicted in them could be contributing to a culture of violence in local communities.

Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy said she is filing a bill that would regulate the sale and playing of video games by minors but urged local government units to take immediate measures to put in place their own ratings classification for Internet and video gaming.

Herrera-Dy made the proposal as calls for stricter gun control measures came in the wake of the Caloocan City and Cavite shooting incidents that resulted in the death of nine persons, including two children.

She noted the absence of specific national government body regulates the sale and playing of video and Internet games which are readily available to minors in their homes and in gaming arcades.

''In fact the New York Times has reported that a Web site 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 explained 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 centers and internet shops.

She said that the age and content ratings being imposed by the international Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) on video games do not strictly bind compliance in the Philippines because there are no locally produced video games.

Herrera-Dy proposed that the audience classification ratings of the Movie and Television Ratings and Classification Board (MTRCB) be followed as the same standard of classification for video and Internet games in the meantime.

Herrera-Dy, principal author of the anti-corporal punishment bill, vowed to file several anti-gun control and violence prevention measures such as the video game classification standards, stressing that strong public support may give these proposals a good chance of being passed into law before the closing of 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.