Television stations in the Philippines are expected to start providing closed captioning in their programs starting 2017. Closed captioning is a method of putting subtitles in television programs primarily for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Television stations are required to provide closed captioning under R.A. 1090, which was passed by the 17th Congress last year and lapsed into law last July 21. The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the law were issued by the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) last October 2016.
Under the IRR, television stations have up to five years within which to comply with the law. During the first year, the stations are required to only partially implement closed captioning while they are testing out their systems. On the second year, however, they are required to provide closed captioning for at least 10 percent of the mandated programs, 25 percent on the third year, 50 percent on the fourth year, and for all programs on the fifth year.
Programs required by R.A. 10905 to be provided with closed captioning include all pre-scripted programs, newscasts, and news programs. Exempted from the requirement are the following:
• Public service announcements (PSA’s) that are shorter than 10 minute.
• Programs shown in the early morning hours from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
• Programs that are primarily textual in nature.
• Programs which are economically burdensome for the station to provide
Section 2(d) of MTRCB’s implementing rules specifies the following to be exempted if determined by the MTRCB to be economically burdensome for the station:
(i) Programs in the nature of breaking news and unscheduled events such as live breaking news or on-the-spot field reports with the absence of a pre-script;
(ii) Live broadcast of public affairs, sports and entertainment programs and their respective replays or reruns shown within the same day from the original airing date, provided that, subsequent replays or reruns after twenty four (24) hours from the original airing date are closed captioned;
(iii) Spontaneous or unscripted comments of anchors, hosts or reporters;
(iv) Same day replay of live events, speeches, congressional or similar hearings by a governmental body or agency;
(v) Taped-as-live programs aired within 24 hours from the date of recording.
The rules also provide that television operators with gross annual revenues of less than one-billion pesos are exempted from the closed captioning requirement as may be determined by the MTRCB. Exemptions are subject to review every five years.