Estrada: OMB no longer relevant, pushes for its abolition

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday, February 21 said the Optical Media Board (OMB) has outlived its purpose and would best be abolished.

Estrada made the statement as he filed Senate Bill No. 1904, which calls for its abolition.

“The significant technological advancements in the media landscape rendered the use of video tapes and compact discs as obsolete,” Estrada said.

“Today, movies and television series are consumed through digital and online platforms and streaming services. Ang mandato na dapat ginagampanan ng OMB ay hindi na makabuluhan o naaayon sa kasalukuyang panahon (The mandate that OMB must fulfill is no longer relevant or relevant to the current times),” he said.

Estrada said the OMB was created in a bid to address the proliferation of film piracy, most of which were illegally circulated and physically stored in optical media.

These activities greatly affected the operations of movie houses and theaters, causing a sharp decline in cinema attendance and substantial losses to government revenues, the senator said.

He said Republic Act 9239 which reorganized the Videogram Regulatory Board (VRB) and paved the way for the creation of OMB was aimed at ensuring the protection and promotion of intellectual property rights.

The senator first raised the idea of putting an end to the OMB during last year’s budget deliberations when he suggested the transfer of its functions to other executive offices due to its dismal performance in the past years.

He said its functions can be incorporated with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

“There was a steady decline in the estimated value of seized items in the last five years, from P763 million in 2018 to P305,000 in 2022,” he noted.

“Also, no new administrative cases were filed against violators of RA 9236 last year and by own admission of the OMB, this is because DVDs are not used anymore,” he further said.

Estrada said the OMB is literally just monitoring and regulating an already obsolete industry; even the storage medium and devices under the agency’s regulatory control are phased out already, he said.

The lawmaker said he will also propose to have some of the OMB personnel be absorbed by the FDCP, or transferred to other agencies, or given separation benefits should they opt to retire from service.