After Vietnam announced it was banning the upcoming Barbie movie from theaters for featuring China’s disputed nine-dash line in the South China Sea, Filipinos wondered whether they would miss seeing Margot Robbie on the big screen following calls for the Philippines to follow suit.
Three senators have expressed their opinions regarding the screening of the highly-anticipated movie Barbie in the Philippines, which has sparked controversy due to reported scenes featuring China’s controversial geopolitical claim.
Senator Francis Tolentino has called upon the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), the country’s regulatory board, to ban Barbie from cinemas, arguing that it was the responsibility of the MTRCB to ban films that undermine Philippine sovereignty.
“Barbie deserves to be prohibited from screening as the nine-dash line it depicts in the movie is false and has been struck down by the arbitral ruling in 2016,” he added, referring to the arbitral tribunal ruling, where the Philippines won against China over its maritime territories.
Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros has suggested that a clear disclaimer be shown before every screening of the movie to address the matter. Hontiveros argued, “The movie is a work of fiction, and so is the nine-dash line. At the very least, our cinemas should provide an explicit disclaimer stating that the nine-dash line is a product of China’s imagination.”
Echoing these concerns, Senator Jinggoy Estrada mentioned the possibility of the MTRCB banning the movie, citing past precedents. He acknowledged, “This is not the first time such cases have emerged… Although it may be a work of fiction, this remains an extremely sensitive issue. We have fought for this cause for a long time, and it is only right for us to take a stand on matters concerning our country’s sovereignty. We hope that the MTRCB will provide a decision on this matter as soon as possible.”
The MTRCB has confirmed that it is currently conducting a review of the movie and has committed to releasing its ratings of the film by the end of the day.
It has previously prohibited movies such as Uncharted and Abominable for featuring China’s nine-dash line.