MANILA—Former chairman of the Movie and Television Review and classification Board (MTRCB) Manuel “Manoling” Morato passed away at 2:30 in the afternoon on Friday July 30 in hospital in Quezon City due to COVID-19. He was 87 years old. He was also a member of the board of directors of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
The family of Morato confirmed his passing via ABS-CBN News.
According the family of the former MTRCB chairman, they did not expect the sudden deterioration of his health, four day after he was confined in the hospital. The present MTRCB chairman Rachel Arenas immediately sent her message of sympathy.
In a statement which was posted on the Facebook page of MTRCB:
“The whole of the MTRCB family joins in mourning the loss of Manuel “Manoling” Morato, Former Chairperson and legend of the Philippine entertainment industry. Your contributions to history, the national discourse and the lives of the Filipino people will remain ever large in our hearts.
“You will be missed Sir!”
Morato was the second chairperson of MTRCB, the government agency assigned to review and give classification to films TV shows which are being shown in the country in 1985.
Morato was known as the one who stopped the “penekula” (penetration films) when he was the chairman of the said agency from 1986 until 1992, under the administration of the former President Corazon Aquino.
Morato had his last interview with the entertainment press on July 10 at the Marco Polo Hotel In Pasig City.
During the interview, Morato recalled he time when he was the chairman of MTRCB. Part of the interview by PEP columnist Jerry Olea published on July 11:
Due to his strict management during his time with MTRCB, did he have many enemies in showbiz?
“Hindi ako nakikipag-away sa kanila,” was his reply.
“Inaaway ako pero I was just implementing the law. Because if I approve it, I’m the one who’ll go to jail.”
The former MTRCB chairman said that the hardest phase of MTRCB happened during his term.
“Kasi, laganap noon ang bomba films,” Morato stressed. .
“When I stepped down, Mother Lily was the first one naman to acknowledge on television, na it was the golden years of the film industry raw.
“Kasi, ayaw silang maniwala sa akin. Sinasabi ko, ‘Lily, kung magbobomba-bomba films, mga 5% lang ng mga sira-ulo ang magiging kliyente ninyo.
“‘Pero if you follow the law, and you go down to Parental Guidance, because bawal ang X-rated, e… Pati sa television, bawal ang adult [contents].
“It has to be up to Parental Guidance, General Patronage. Sabi ko, ‘You try to do clean films, especially yung mga suitable for children. Because manonood lahat, from the lolo, the parents, the children.’
“Napuno ang mga sinehan noon. Kaya noong mag-step down ako, sinabi ni Lily na during my term daw was the golden years of the movie industry, and they all made money.
“Paano ka kikita sa bomba films, it’s not even 5% of the public that go and watch? Yung mga may sira lang ang ulo!
Morato stopped the proliferation of penekula.
“Pinatay ko. It took me two years, but I killed the bomba films!” he expressed.
It was also during his term as MTRCB chairman that many film titles were disapproved and changed.
“Kagaya ng Materyales Fuertes. OK, materiales fuertes, Spanish phrase meaning “strong materials,” pero pag inilagay mo [ang title] sa ibabaw ng suso ng isang babae, ano ba ang ibig sabihin niyon? I also turned it down.”
Morato also wrote a column “Uncensored” for People’s Journal.
The Morato family is still finalizing funeral arrangements.