Below is the letter sent by TV5 to MTRCB on April 4, 2011:
HON. GRACE POE LLAMANZARES
Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
Dear Chairman Llamanzares:
We wish to thank the MTRCB for giving us an opportunity to be heard and for withholding judgment on our network, the producers and Mr. Willie Revillame until after due process is observed. While many comments have been made on the controversy, it is important for us to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. For this reason, our network is currently conducting a thorough investigation on the matter.
As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of TV5, I have been tasked to lead the investigation together with our Chief Legal Counsel and newly appointed Internal Ombudsman, Atty. Christine C. Ona. We wish to inform the Board that we are now in the final stages of the investigation. We humbly request, however, that we be given a few more days to complete and prepare our report to the Board on the said investigation. In the meantime, we hope you will allow us to quickly recount what we have done so far.
Last March 28, we expressed our sincere and deep apologies for the segment of “Willing Willie” featuring the 6 year-old Jan-Jan Suan which viewers may have found offensive or in bad taste. We wish to reiterate that the program was conceptualized to provide wholesome entertainment, bring hope and shine the spotlight on ordinary Filipinos. We provide the participants a venue to show their talents, share their stories, express their messages and make their dreams come true. It is not our desire to humiliate, abuse or take advantage of any participant in the program.
Beyond issuing an apology, we immediately implemented the following measures:
1. Caused the preparation of stricter guidelines on the appearance and performance of minors, particularly children, on all TV5 programs.
2. Required that all “Willing Willie” auditions as well as auditions of other TV5 programs be supervised by TV5 representatives designated by the TV5 Ombudsman.
3. Appointed an internal Ombudsman to review any incidents of this nature and to whom any complaints may be referred for immediate disposition.
4. Imposed a moratorium on the participation of minors in all contests and game shows on TV5 until such time that the preceding measures are fully in place.
Additionally, we have created our Standards Compliance Group to formulate and periodically review our network’s new broadcast standards and policies, as well as monitor compliance therewith. The Standards Compliance Group shall consist of two units—the Standards Advisory Board and the Compliance Unit.
The Standards Advisory Board shall be chaired by TV5’s Chief Operating Officer and shall include a psychologist, a creative director, and a children’s communications expert. As of today, Ms. Feny Bautista, the president of the Philippine Children’s Television Foundation and Dr. Camille Garcia, a child psychologist of the DOH-licensed Clinic of the Holy Spirit, have accepted our invitation to be part of the said board.
The Compliance Unit shall be headed by the TV5 Ombudsman and composed of at least ten monitoring and compliance officers. They shall have authority to review all programs, plugs and other non-program materials aired on TV5, as well as on AksyonTV, Radyo5 and Sports5.
We are taking positive action, not only to prevent the occurrence of any similar incident, but to uplift our standards especially with respect to children and minors. With the steps we are taking, we hope to be the least frequent visitor to the MTRCB among the major networks.
As for Jan-Jan, we wish to tell the Board that our network, with the approval of his parents, has engaged a team of psychologists to attend to the boy’s needs.
Finally, TV5 reaffirms its commitment to responsible broadcasting. We wish to assure the Board that we are not taking the incident lightly and we will be taking appropriate action after our investigation is completed. We join the Board in its concern for upholding contemporary Filipino cultural values; hence we are extending our full cooperation to the MTRCB in the performance of its mandate.
Very truly yours,
ROBERTO V. BARREIRO
Executive Vice President and COO