The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has given the go signal for the screening of the fantasy comedy movie Barbie in the Philippines. It said it found "no clear nor outright depiction of 9-dash line" in the film.
In a letter sent to Sen. Francis Tolentino, the MTRCB said: "The Board believes that all things considered, it has no basis to ban the film Barbie as there is no clear nor outright depiction of the nine-dash line in the subject film."
It also added that the Review Committee has given the Margot Robbie-starrer film a PG-13 rating.
According to MTRCB, Barbie underwent “meticulous screenings” and has consulted with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Solicitor General to verify if the lines in the map depict the nine-dash line.
MTRCB noted that the lines are “not U-shaped and has eight dots/dashes instead of nine." It also said that the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia are not visible on the controversial map.
Tolentino, who previously said that the depiction is "injurious" to the Philippines’, spoke out about the decision.
"Tayo po ay nalulungkot dahil bukas 'yong ika-7 anibersaryo ng pagkapanalo natin sa arbitral court na pinawalang-bisa iyung 9-dash line," he said in a video.
"Ang nakikita po rito ay yung patuloy na pagkamkam ng China sa karagatan ng Pilipinas at ito po ay isang pagyurak, maliwanag na pagyurak sa karapatan ng ating mga mangingisda at maging ang ating hukbong dagat ng Pilipinas at ang ating Philippine Coast Guard."
While he respects the MTRCB, Tolentino reiterated that he is not questioning Barbie, but only wanted to make it clear that the territory is owned by the Philippines.
"Ang dapat po siguro ginawa dito sinunod na lang ng MTRCB, ang Department of Foreign Affairs na alisin na lang yung eksenang iyon," he suggested.
In Vietnam, Greta Gerwig's Barbie was banned because of a portrayal of a map showing the controversial 9-dash line, which represents China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Aside from Vietnam, its neighboring countries, including the Philippines and Malaysia also contest this.
Meanwhile, a representative from Warner Bros. said that the map was just fiction.
“The map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing. The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world.’ It was not intended to make any type of statement,” the spokesperson said.
Barbie is set to premiere this July 19.