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Watching Rachel


By Jullie Yap Daza

Jullie Yap Daza

Jullie Yap Daza

By Friday, which is tomorrow, the Armed Forces should have the situation fully under control in Marawi. Coming from Defense Secretary Lorenzana, that sounded like a promise, so maybe we can all unwind a bit and, as the movie pages used to say, “Relax, watch a movie.”

Ever since Grace Poe led the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, the drama has gone out of the office. She managed to calm the waters and prevent controversy and scandal, whether it was due to a maturing audience, maturing producers, or maturing censors (who now prefer to be called reviewers). Rachel Arenas, daughter of her famous mother Baby A, is the new MTRCB head, and she intends to keep it that way: “We have to work with our stakeholders; we cannot be combative.”

From what we know of Rachel through Baby A, not only is the chairman noncombative, she’s nonconfrontational, and as she describes herself, she leans toward lenient and liberal. Since her appointment last February, only a small controversy has made it to the showbiz pages: the X-ing of “Bliss,” starring Isa Calzado. As Rachel explained it, the X was for scenes of prolonged nudity, but when its producers appealed for a review, a second batch of censors approved it for P18, without cuts. “I reviewed it, I was not shocked by it, I’d have given it an P18. We have to understand it’s a psycho thriller. . .”

In a nutshell, that’s how Rachel’s mind works. She has worked under five presidents, from FVR to DU30. She has people skills, honed through a colorful career as congresswoman, Pagcor consultant, Red Cross governor, director of a Padre Pio foundation, among other things. Although new on the job at MTRCB — she votes only to break a tie, she need not join the censors when they watch six movies and TV shows each blessed day – she actually thinks she’s having fun.

Asked for the name of the board’s most cantankerous member, she replied, “I’ll tell you later.” Rachel, you may be an ex-politician, but you’re really a diplomat waiting in the wings.

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