By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Recognizing the need to ensure that children gain proper knowledge and are not led “astray by negative content” they see on television, the Department of Education (DepEd), through its attached agency, led the launch of content standards for child-friendlier programs.
The National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT), an attached agency of the DepEd, launched the Child-Friendly Content Standards (CFCS) recently as part of its mandate to “produce quality television programs that will help develop the knowledge, skills, values, and strong sense of national identity among Filipino learners.”
DepEd noted that pursuant to Section 9 of Republic Act (RA) No. 8370 or the Children’s Television Act, NCCT “shall formulate and promote CFCS which require broadcast television networks to allocate a minimum of 15% of their daily total airtime to children’s programs and/or child-friendly programs to be shown during child-viewing hours.”
Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua lauded the launch for being “timely and relevant to present situation.” In a message read by DepEd-Bureau of Learner Support Services Director and NCCT OIC-Executive Director Rizalino Jose Rosales, Pascua said that the CFCS “allows us government agencies and other stakeholders that are involved in shaping the future generations of Filipinos to be in-step with the quick-paced information revolution, keeping Filipino values intact, and ensuring that children gain proper knowledge and are not led astray by negative content.”
Pascua also assured that DepEd, under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Briones, the NCCT, and other stakeholders will continue to “work together to better prepare Filipino learners to face various societal issues in the fast-changing modern world.”
As cited in the rules and regulations on CFCS, DepEd said that children’s television programs shall be: “educational or must promote, protect, and develop the child’s physical, emotional, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being; value-laden or must foster and nurture the positive value formation and overall development of a child; and age-appropriate or must be suitable according to the formative and developmental stages of a child.”
“Television programs not specifically designed for viewing by children shall be considered child-friendly only if they meet the set criteria on the theme, values, dialogue, language, nutrition, sex and nudity, violence, substance use, gambling, and advertisements,” DepEd said. “These requirements shall also apply to children’s television programs,” it added.
For the NCCT, hours between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., and/or between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. are “appropriate for children to watch television” – taking into consideration other “activities necessary for their balanced development.”
DepEd said that broadcast networks are “given sufficient time to comply with the minimum 15% allotment of the daily total airtime to children’s programs and/or child-friendly programs.” From the date of effectivity until December 31, 2019, DepEd said that “the compliance to the minimum 15% shall be on a voluntary basis.”
“In 2020, every broadcast network shall have at least five percent compliance, while at least 10% minimum allotment should be attained in 2021,” DepEd said. “The required 15% of the total everyday airtime for children’s programs and/or child-friendly programs shall be complied within 2022,” it added.
Rosales expressed hope that every broadcast network will observe the Child-Friendly Content Standards. “We hope that you will religiously bear in mind the required 15% allotment to children’s programs and child-friendly programs,” he explained.
Aside from DepEd officials, the event was also attended by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya; the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretaries Marijoy Segui and Rhea Peñaflor; NCCT Chairperson for Child Development Specialists Sector Luis Gatmaitan, M.D.; council member for academe sector Alice Pañares; council member for broadcast media sector Ramon Osorio, APR, CPR; council member for parents sector Ma. Lourdes Carandang, PhD; and council member for the child-focused non-government organizations sector Yasmin Mapua-Tang.
Representatives from the National Telecommunications Commission, Council for the Welfare of Children, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, ABS-CBN, GMA Network, UNTV, PTV 4, Catholic Mass Media Awards, Philippine Information Agency, Philippine Press Institute, and students and teachers from the Schools Division of Quezon City, Caloocan City, and San Juan City were also present during the launch.