The birth of the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB)
STAR BYTES - Butch Francisco () - January 16, 2003 - 12:00am
Up to the time the Film Ratings Board (FRB) was abolished (it breathed its last in early 2002), most people still got its function mixed up with that of the Movie & Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). The MTRCB, let me say once more, determines audience suitability – if a film is R-18 (for adults only), PG 13, general patronage or X.

The Film Ratings Board, on the other hand, gave tax rebates to quality films rated by the FRB members. Films rated A by the FRB got a 100 percent tax rebate (from taxes deducted from every movie ticket you pay), while those rated B got a 65 percent rebate.

The problem with the now defunct FRB was that it didn’t have teeth. Some greedy cities and municipalities just didn’t want to give rebates to FRB rated films. Marichu Maceda had to go from city hall to city hall begging the mayors, vice mayors, councilors or anyone who’d care to listen to please, please, please turn over the tax rebates to movie producers whose films had been rated by the FRB. Some cities and municipalities cooperated and gave the tax-saddled producers what was due them. But these were very few. In the end, it was only the small municipalities of Rizal province that was turning over the rebates to the film producers – until the Film Ratings Board was eventually forced to close shop.

The good news now is that the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) had just been formed under the Film Development Council of the Philippines (headed by Laurice Guillen) to take the place of the ERB.

But the best news of all is that the giving of tax rebates to quality films had been enacted into law and this means that the newly formed CEB has teeth, jaws and all. And that’s not all there is to it. It’s going to be nationwide – which means that tax rebates will come from Metro Manila theaters and those in key cities in the provinces. There should be no problem getting the rebates either because from the movie theaters, the collection should go straight to the producers of FRB-rated films.

Yesterday, the members of the Cinema Evaluation Board (with Zeneida Amador as chairperson) had their oath taking in Malacañang with President Macapagal Arroyo presiding. I’ve been appointed to the board (ehem!), but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the Palace affair because I was typing this column. (Yes, I could have advanced the column, but I do other things, too – you know.)

Although I’m grateful for the appointment, I know that this CEB assignment is not exactly heaven-sent. It’s a job and a tough one. I have to watch movies, which may or may not be worth my time – but I have to sit through all these just the same. To make things worse for me, I have to wake up early (which is the biggest sacrifice I can make for anything or anyone) because the screenings are held late mornings. (I’m a basketcase before noon.) But what I really abhor is the fact that the screenings are going to be held once more at the Louis Cinema in Makati – and I absolutely hate going to Makati because of its one-way streets. And Louis Cinema had to be located in the very innards of this premier city.

I was actually suggesting other theaters, but Louis Cinema comes out the cheapest. The screening room in the Viva Films office along E. Rodriguez in Quezon City could have been another alternative, but the board doesn’t want to start talks and other malicious insinuations about the CEB favoring Viva Films (Personally, I don’t see anything wrong about the CEB using the Viva screening room because we’re paying for it anyway – aside from the fact that the rent is reasonable.)

But in spite of the difficulties of waking up early and braving the traffic to Makati, I promise to fulfill my duties as a CEB member – the way I did during the time of the FRB. (I almost scored a perfect attendance there.) It’s one sacrifice I’m making for the local film industry, which Marichu Maceda has taught me to love. (Never mind the fact that I’m more from the television industry and not the movies.)

Below are the other newly-appointed members of the Cinema Evaluation Board who will be deciding on the fate of local films that are going to be submitted for review in the hope of getting tax rebates (hey, that’s going to be a lot of money returned to the coffers of the film outfit).

Ma-an Hontiveros, currently in-demand cinematographer Marissa Floirendo, Catherine Jimenez (news reporter/segment producer for IBC-13 and production consultant for RPN-9), Mary Rose Moreno (from the business sector), Leah Navarro, Boots Anson Roa, Susanne Santos (from the business sector), OPM head Mitch Valdes, Tommy Abuel, Tikoy Aguiluz, Chinggoy Alonso, Juaniyo Arcellana of this paper, Ateneo professor Brion Rofel, Gerardo Carual (chief of presidential closed-in photographers of the office of the President), Behn Cervantes, journalist-poet Lourd de Veyra, screenwriters Roy Iglesias and Pete Lacaba, NBN-4 general manager Jose Isabelo, Leo Martinez, Christian Monsod III, Nestor U. Torre and director Eddie Romero.

BOARD CINEMA EVALUATION BOARD FILM FILM RATINGS BOARD FILMS FRB LOUIS CINEMA MAKATI MARICHU MACEDA REBATES VIVA FILMS
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