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The Philippines 🇵🇭 is an Asian country which mostly practices Christianity. It was a Spanish colony, being the only former Spanish colony in Southeast Asia. There was a lot of censorship during Ferdinand Marcos' Martial Law regime, known also as Bagong Lipunan (New Society) (1972-1986).

General censorship[]

Due to the influence of conservative Christian groups, such as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and churches, mainly the Roman Catholic Church, among other institutions, any kind of pornography is banned in the country.

Book censorship[]

  • During the Spanish rule, two novels written by José Rizal, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo were refused publication by the colonial authorities, since both novels spoke about the nationwide corruption in the government and in the Church. After the Spanish occupation, these once-banned novels are now studied in many Filipino high schools and colleges.
  • The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos - this non-fiction book by Primitivo Mijares was banned during the Martial Law period due to being critical of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos.
  • The Untold Story of Imelda Marcos - this biographical book by Carmen Navarro Pedrosa, was banned in 1972, shortly after the start of the Martial Law period under President Ferdinand Marcos. The "unauthorized" biography was banned for the depiction of First Lady Imelda Marcos' extravagance.

Internet censorship[]

  • Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9775, PornHub, XHamster, Redtube and XVideos were blocked in 2017 by the government, for allegations of these sites having child pornography (despite these sites having policies against it). The fact that the Philippines is said to be the 15th most frequent porn watchers in the world might have something to do with it. Though this is only applied to certain internet service providers such as PLDT. So, if you're using other internet service providers such as Globe or having a VPN installed, these sites still will be viewed.
  • XVideos is fully banned there, regardless of provider, just showing a page that says that the site is banned for having child porn (despite no such thing being present, as the site clearly has policies prohibiting it).

Movie censorship[]

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board gives age ratings to movies. The ratings are G, PG, R-13, R-16, R-18, and X. It is an offence to show or sell R-13, R-16, or R-18 films to a person below the stipulated age limit. A film that has been given an X rating by the MTRCB cannot be legally shown or distributed within the Philippines.

  • Any film starring Claire Danes (and herself) is banned after some comments she did in Variety while she was promoting Brokedown Palace (filmed in the Philippines), which the government deemed insensitive.
  • Cannibal Holocaust - this film was banned due to extreme violence and animal cruelty, which did not stop bootleg copies from proliferating.
  • Batang Tulisan - banned for depicting a priest in a villainous role as well for depicting the use of a hypodermic syringe as a murder tool.
  • Chapayev - banned for promoting Communist ideology.
  • Iginuhit ng Tadhana - this movie was banned during presidency of Diosdado Macapagal due to featuring his main political opponent, the then-Senator Ferdinand Marcos.
  • Hubad na Bayani - this film which was released during Martial Law and showed the human rights violations committed by the Marcos regime was banned by President Ferdinand Marcos from showing theatrically, which led to the creation of the Oblation Run (a form of naked protest).
  • The Last Temptation of Christ - not shown in the country due to protests from fundamentalist Christian groups for the same reasons above, specially with the relation between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Though, unlike The Da Vinci Code, no copy of this film can be found in any video store and its bootleg copies are pretty rare.
  • Dear Uncle Sam - this film was banned for criticism towards the American military presence in the Philippines. in 1989 (when the film was released), the Americans maintained military bases in Clark and in Subic.
  • Orapronobis (Fight for Us) - banned by President Corazon Aquino for its subversive message regarding her oppressive new government following the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
  • Schindler's List was initially banned for scenes involving humping and nudity which were considered by the Movie and Television Review Classification Board as "pornographic". In 1994, the ban was lifted due to the historical merits of the film.
  • The Piano was briefly banned for a year until the ban was rescinded in 1994.
  • Natural Born Killers - this film was banned due to its extreme violence and gruesome imagery.
  • The Bridges of Madison County was given a "X" rating due to a partial nudity scene involving lead actress Meryl Streep. The MTRCB stated that it could rerate the film if the scene was cut from the film for screening in the country.
  • Live Show - this film had its MTRCB permission rescinded by president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2001 due to the lobbying from Cardinal Jaime Sin and other Catholic leaders for the film being banned, as the movie tackled the issue of the plight of young Filipino boys and girls resorting to featuring in sex shows in Manila as a means of livelihood.
  • Imelda - this biopic about Imelda Marcos, wife of president Ferdinand Marcos, was banned after she filed a lawsuit.
  • Ang Mabuhay para sa Masa - this film, directed, produced and starring former President Joseph Estrada during his detention for one of his several plunder cases, was banned for challenging the rule of President Arroyo, who succeeded him after he was ousted in the second EDSA Revolution, as well for implying that the Catholic Church cooperated with prominent business leaders to depose Estrada. The MTRCB banned the film on the grounds of "libelous and false content".
  • Aurora was given a "double X" rating due to an alleged rape scene. The producers applied to make the film being rated R-18 due to it being geared towards an adult public.
  • Brüno - This mockumentary by Sasha Baron Cohen was banned for homosexual obscenity before being lifted and heavily cut by the censor board in order to be rated as R-18.
  • ABS-CBN AmBisyon series had two of its short films censored in the country:
    • Ganito tayo ngayon, Paano na tayo bukas? - this short film was rated "X" because it depicted a January 2010 newspaper issue, which featured the economic achievements of then-president Arroyo, from the time of its delivery to a homeowner to the time it was used to wipe off feces from a foot of a cart-pushing vendor.
    • Ayos Ka? - this short film, which is a music video which featured a hopeful soundtrack juxtaposed with imagery of poverty, illegal drug use, prostitution, and murder was rated as "X" due to being "injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines and its people.", according to the censors.
  • Innocence of Muslims - this independent film was banned after a ruling of the Supreme Court after it caused a widespread protest from Muslims for portraying in negative light the life of the prophet Muhammad (In the island of Mindanao, which is in the south of the Philippines, there is a Muslim population).
  • The Da Vinci Code - Some conservative Catholic groups tried to ban this film in 2006. The film just got a R-18 from the government. SM Supermalls, the largest chain of shopping malls in the country, forbade every of its theaters to show the film to comply to their policy of not screening R-18 films. The movie was banned in the capital Manila, but it was shown in other cities. The DVD and Blu-ray versions are still available.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey - this film was not shown in some cities in the Philippines due to SM's policy of not showing R-18 films, which did not stop the movie from being a box office hit and being illegally downloaded on the internet.
  • Abominable - This film was taken out the theaters due to a scene featuring the map of the South China Sea with the Nine-Dash-Line and the islands of Visayas and Mindanao missing. Since the Philippines won the international arbitration against China in 2016, which declared the Nine-Dash-Line claim as invalid, it is comprehensible why this movie was not shown there.
  • Metamorphosis - this Cinema One Originals entry which features intersex people, was rated as "X" due to a "masturbation" scene and exposal of genitals. The MTRCB reviewed the film again by another set of people, reclassifying it as R-16 film considering the whole context of the film. No re-edits or cut were made on the film.

Television censorship[]

  • Ferdinand Marcos' Bagong Lipunan regime banned various Super Robot anime, among these Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Daimos, Gaiking and Voltes V. The official reason was for "violence and horror", when actually the reason is another. Many have said that the premise of Voltes V, which was about young rebels fighting against a brutal tyrant hit a little close to home for Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda. However, his son Bongbong and one of the voice actors state that some PTAs and a Catholic group demanded Ferdinand to ban Super Robot anime. This resulted that Voltes V's titular robot was adopted by the rebel factions as a mascot. The ban was lifted after the EDSA revolution and the subsequent election of Corazon Aquino as President of the Philippines.
  • The Loud House - The episode "Stage Plight" has been banned due to a scene showing a kiss between Luan and Benny
  • Family Guy - This show was banned in the grounds of being "offensive and indecent", due to not having hefty free speech protections.

Video game censorship[]

  • Video games as a whole were banned in the Philippines during the Marcos regime for much the same reasons through Presidential Decree 519, outlawing the use of pinball machines and other such devices. Like Voltes V before that, it was since been lifted following the EDSA revolution.
  • Defense of the Ancients - A village in Cavite, Philippines issued a ban on this game, citing delinquency issues among the youth and brawls ensuing from the game. This did not sit well with the video game community, calling it a foul move on the village officials' end.
  • Pokémon GO is being banned preemptively, due to all the negative press the limited pre-release got.

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