Grace under pressure; Bringing diplomacy to the MTRCB

SHE might not bring the controversy and publicity of a Manoling Morato, or the fiery disposition of an Armida Siguion-Reyna, but for every criticism that has been thrown against her, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairman, Grace Poe-Llamanzares, has answered back with unbridled passion and a diplomatic disposition.
The only daughter of two film legends-the King and Queen of Philippine Movies, the late Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces-Llamanzares said that just like President Benigno Aquino 3rd, she not only has a responsibility to the public but also the duty to preserve her parents’ legacy.

At the Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel, where she was the inaugural guest speaker of the regular media forum, Llamanzares admited that while it puts extra pressure on her to become more productive, she is glad that President Aquino has expressed his support for her. During her oath-taking ceremony, she recounted his few words of advice for her: “You have to be a diplomat in your position;” and “I have your back, do what you think is best.”

So far, Llamanzares has done a pretty good job and earned praises in handling her first controversy, Comedy King Dolphy’s Father Jejemon. Being an entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival, Llamanzares acted quickly and proved that she can handle the rigors of the post.

She also impressed many members of the press with her articulate and straight answers during the forum. Llamanzares said they have identified several immediate goals for this year including finding “responsible people with open minds” to sit on the board and help them with the tedious work load. She also stated that she wants to utilize the power of social networking and improve their website so that the public can easily send their feedback.

Llamanzares told the press that they are undergoing a review of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the agency as she feels there are certain provisions that need to be updated.

Several studies are also being undertaken-one specifically on the Korean Film model-to help improve the quality and the economics of local filmmaking. Another one of her ambitious goals is to create a better archiving system, similar to the ones owned by the big television networks, to help researchers and future generations of filmmakers.

A self-confessed movie buff and a mother of three, the MTCRB chairman said she tries to seek a “balance between the rights of producers and the rights of the audience.” She expressed that while she wants to give filmmakers and television producers as much leeway, there are still certain things that she doesn’t want her children to see. She said if it is possible to implement a five-second delay in live TV programs, then she will support it.

When Llamanzares’s appointment was first announced, many questioned her qualifications-aside from being the daughter of movie icons.

Llmanzares studied at the Assumption College and took up Development Studies at the University of the Philippines. She also has a degree in Political Science, major in Government and Political Theory from Boston College.

She came home in 2004 to help her father campaign for the presidency and then decided to stay after her father’s sudden death. 

Her experience in the industry is also extensive. She supervised FPJ Productions’ daily operations and was involved in advocacies that assist needy actors via the FPJ Foundation. At Mowelfund, she contributed to the advancement of the rights and welfare of members of the movie industry and conducts continuing education and seminars to keep its members competitive in the technical and creative aspects of filmmaking.

“I grew up in the industry and have been exposed to the filmmaking business ever since I was a child; so no one can question my love for the business. But if there’s one thing I learned from my father’s failed bid for presidency, it was that ‘good intentions are not enough-but it is definitely a great way to start,'” she quipped.

So far, the response to the new leadership of the MTRCB has been unanimously positive. Movie producer and Solar Entertainment Chairman Wilson Tieng, expressed confidence in Llamanzares saying, “She is so professional and progressive-minded, we’ve had no problems working with her.” 

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