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SIXTEENTH CONGRESS

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


FIRST REGULAR SESSION

)
)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
House Bill no. ________

Introduced by Representative Sherwin T. Gatchalian

EXPLANATORY NOTE
The Constitution, Article 11, Section 13 provides:
The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation building
and shall protect and promote their physical, moral, spiritual,
intellectual, and social wellbeing.

It shall inculcate in the youth

patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public


and civic affairs.
Studies show that simulated violence in video games may influence a players
thoughts, feelings and physical arousal and this in turn creates an effect, short and
possibly long term, on an individuals interpretation of an aggressive or violent act. 1
Minors, due to their age and general behavior, are considerably and obviously
vulnerable.
There have been a couple of bills filed for this cause such as Representative
Narciso Santiagos HB 6832, which calls for an establishment of a new ratings
system, and Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dys bill, which calls for the MTRCB
to regulate video games using its own classification system.
1 Kooijmans T. "Effects of video games on aggressive thoughts and behaviors during
development."Rochester Institute of Technology December 2004.

What this bill proposes to do, meanwhile, is something more efficient: to adopt
the ratings system of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) a New
York-based self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings,
enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines, and ensures responsible online
privacy principles for computer and video games. Although its not legally binding
under U.S. law, American retailers voluntarily enforce such ratings.

Meanwhile,

Canadas provinces of Manitoba, Nova Scoatia, Ontario, New Brunswick and


Saskatchewan have laws recognizing ESRB ratings and requiring retailers to enforce
them.
To create an entirely new classification system for video games, to create a
government regulatory board for it, or to compel video game publishers to adhere to
MTRCBs own ratings system will all be a waste of energy and taxpayers money.
Once the ESRB ratings system is made legally binding in the country, the State will
have a solid framework from which it can base preventive policies such as the
prohibition on the sale of mature and adult-rated games to minors, and the
attachment of civil liability to parents of minors who use and play such video games.

SHERWIN T. GATCHALIAN

SIXTEENTH CONGRESS
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
FIRST REGULAR SESSION

)
)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
House Bill no. ________

Introduced by Representative Sherwin T. Gatchalian

AN ACT
ADOPTING THE RATINGS SYSTEM OF THE ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE
RATINGS BOARD AND PROHIBITING THE SALE, RENTAL OR USE OF MATURE
AND ADULTS-ONLY VIDEO GAMES TO MINORS
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the
Philippines in Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Short Title. This Act shall be known as the Video Game
Regulation Act of 2014.
SECTION 2. Policy. It is the policy of the State consistent with the
Constitution to recognize the vital role of the youth in nation building and protect and
promote their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social wellbeing. For this
purpose, the government shall adopt and instute a balanced policy whereby the use
of technology, video games in particular, be regulated in order to protect and promote
the rights of children, minors and other stakeholders.
SECTION 3. Purpose. It is the main thrust of this Act to:
a. Adopt and make legally binding the ratings system of the Entertainment
Software Ratings Board (ESRB)
b. Prevent retailers from selling or leasing mature or adults-only video
games to minors

c. Hold parents civilly liable for the acts of their children in cases where
other children are involved or be made vulnerable to the use of such
video games
SECTION 2. Definitions. For purposes of this Act, the term:
a. MINOR refers to a person below 18 years old
b. RETAILER refers to a business establishment that sells or rents video
games, exclusively or not.
c. VIDEO GAME means an object or device that stores recorded data,
receives data or instructions generated by anyone who uses it, and by
processing the date or instructions, creates an interactive game
capable of being played, viewed or experience on or through a
computer, game console, or other technology.
d. ESRB refers to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board which is
based in New York
e. T-RATED refers to games which the ESRB believes are suitable for
those aged 13 years of age and up; they can contain moderate use of
violence (including small amounts of blood), mild to moderate language
or suggestive themes, and crude humor.
f. MATURE refers to games which the ESRB believes contain more
intense and/or realistic portrayals of violence than T-rated games
(including blood and gore), stronger sexual themes and content, and a
heavier use of vulgar language
g. ADULTS-ONLY refers to games which the ESRB believes are
unsuitable for people under 18 years of age; the rating typically
covers adult video games, and can contain strong sexual themes and
content, graphic nudity, strong language and mature humor, and higher
levels of violence than the M rating can accommodate.
SECTION 3. Prohibition and Penalties.

a. Except as otherwise provided a person shall not sell or rent mature or


adults-only video games to minors. A person who violates this Act shall
be punished by imprisonment of not more than one (1) year or a fine of
not more than Php100,000.00 or both.
b. Minors shall not use, utilize or play mature or adults-only video games.
Though minors are exempted from criminal liability, their parents will be
civilly liable for moral, exemplary and/or nominal damages, as the court
may deem necessary. The civil law assumes that when a minor
commits tortious acts, the parents were negligent in the performance of
their legal and natural duty closely to supervise the child who is in their
custody and control.
SECTION 4. Defense. It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this Act
that the person acted in good faith. Good faith exists in the following conditions:
a. The minor showed the person identification that appeared to be valid and
that contained a photograph and date of birth showing that the minor was
of age.
b. The retailer exercised ordinary diligence in ascertaining the age of the
minor
c. The parent exercised all the diligence of a good father of a familty to
prevent the damage caused by his child to another minor.
SECTION 5. Implementing Rules and Regulations. The DSWD in
coordination with the National Youth Commission and the MTRCB shall formulate the
necessary Implementing Rules and Regulations for the efficient implementation of
this Act.
SECTION 6. Separablility Clause. If any provision or part hereof is invalid or
unconsitutional, the remainder of the law or the provision not otherwise affected shall
remain valid and subsisting.

SECTION 7. Repealing Clause. All acts, decrees, orders, executive orders,


instructions, rules and regulations or parts hereof inconsistent with the proisions of
this Act is hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SECTION 8. Effectivity Clause. This Act shall take effect thirty (30) days after
its publication in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

Approved,