CUBAO, Oct. 21, 2016 – For Movie And Television Review And Classification Board (MTRCB) chairman Atty. Eugenio “Toto” Villareal, who was the recipient of this year’s Catholic Mass Media Awards’ St. John Paul II Award, the award’s namesake is not just a historical figure but a personal influence and inspiration.
“St. John Paul II started to have an influence in my life as early as the time when I was still a student and, later, as a young lawyer, especially when he visited our country in 1981 and in 1995,” said the government official.
According to him, St. John Paul II did not only give an award a title but is also “a true shepherd and a saint who inspires” him to be a dedicated family man and an effective public servant.
“I felt very humbled when I was informed that the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) had chosen me to be the recipient of this year’s St. John Paul II Award,” admitted the lawyer, who also goes by the name “Toto”.
Upholding Christian values
According to the CMMA, this year’s Saint John Paul II Award was conferred upon Villareal for “his contribution in building a nation of intelligent, discerning, and morally-upright viewers through his effective leadership as Chairman of the MTRCB”.
“Through your hard work, dedication, and genuine service to our people, you have been an instrument in upholding our most cherished Christian values,” the award-giving body told the MTRCB head.
First given by the CMMA in 2011, the Pope John Paul II Award is bestowed to a group or a person who utilizes media in creative ways to promote the faith and uphold Christian values.
The award is granted by the CMMA in honor of St. John Paul II who was known as “one of the world’s greatest communicators” by using media to the fullest to get his message to as many people as possible.
Inspired by St. John Paul II
“When the process for his canonization was initiated, I received a prayer card for personal devotion; I prayed to him earnestly to ask his intercession to the point that I began to call him ‘Lolo Lolek’ (Grandfather ‘Lolek’),” revealed Villareal.
As a child, Karol Józef Wojty?a (John Paul II) was called “Lolek” by his family and close friends.
He added: “John Paul II, as a man, an artist, and a shepherd, inspired me, particularly by his daring and sound judgement.”
“‘Be not afraid’ was his tireless exhortation to his flock while he made sure that we were firmly grounded in authentic teachings on the human person,” explained Villareal.
Empowering the family
Contrary to public perception, the MTRCB ‘s role is not that of “censor” but, as the chairman puts it, that of “enabler”.
“We are partners with both film and television industries in promoting a value-based media and entertainment culture.”
According to Villareal, the MTRCB empowers the Filipino family, especially parents, such that family members are able to evaluate and “intelligently choose the content of media.”
“Part of our mandate is to promote and protect the family, the youth, women, and other vulnerable sectors of society requiring special attention in the realm of media and entertainment.”
“By pursuing the ‘Matalinong Panonood’ campaign we aim to empower every ‘Juan and Juana’ to be able to wield the system in evaluating content,” Villareal stressed. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)