Lawmaker wants English subtitles for PH TV, movies

MANILA, Philippines - House Assistant Majority Leader Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. has made an appeal to the television and film industries to provide English subtitles to their shows, "to help build up the average Filipino’s proficiency in the world’s lingua franca."

“If we can re-record or dub foreign-language telenovelas in Filipino, then surely we can also put English subtitles in locally-produced shows,” Gullas said in a statement.

The 27-year-old lawmaker from the first district of Cebu and grandson of his predecessor in the House of Representatives, Eduardo Gullas, cited globalization as a catalyst in advancing the skills of the Filipino work force abroad.

The same phenomenon has underlined the need for Filipinos to master English, being the language of technology and other fields, said Gullas, who is vice-chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education.

“There’s no question that young Filipinos with superior English skills are bound to enjoy greater employment opportunities in the technology-driven global labor markets of the future,” he said.

Should the television and film industries adopt his proposal, it would generate new employment opportunities right among the production of TV shows and movies. At present, though, translation of these shows is already a thriving enterprise in the industry.

Gullas has filed a bill seeking to reinforce English as the medium of instruction in all school levels.

Filipinos spend around 13.3 hours every week on their TV sets, alongside the 21.5 hours or so they spend on the Internet, Gullas said, citing the Nielsen Southeast Asian Digital Consumer Report.

Soap operas and game shows are the predominant viewing fare among Filipinos, said the lawmaker.

"Meanwhile, Filipinos spent a total of P1.8 billion watching the top 33 highest-grossing Tagalog films in theaters in 2012," his statement said. - Rappler.com