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FDCP January 03, 2017: Mediation between PAWS and Oro production and withdrawal of Oro’s FPJ Memorial Award

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FDCP Chair Liza Dino-Seguerra posted this today:

ON THE INQUIRY BETWEEN PAWS and ORO PRODUCTION REGARDING “ANIMAL CRUELTY” SCENE ON THEIR FILM

Yesterday, the MMFF Executive Committee met with representatives from both the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the production team of Oro.

MMFF execom acted as mediators for this inquiry. Let me enumerate the things that were established by the two parties:

PAWS
1. PAWS has received numerous reports about the killing of a real dog during the filming of ORO.
2. They believe members of ORO production violated RA 8485- the Animal Welfare Act And should be held accountable if proven guilty
3. They are still gathering their own evidence and what they have right now are admission from some members of ORO production team (they can’t assure yet if those will testify against ORO)
4. PAWS said in the course of our dialogue that it did not have any affiant-witness to present (who has direct personal knowledge).
5. If proven to have committed a crime, they are requesting the MMFF executive committee to have the film pulled out and awards withdrawn.
6. PAWS brought a legal counsel to represent them.
7. Counsel for PAWS admits that he has not seen the film.

ORO
1. The representative of ORO who was present during the EXECOM screening of ORO admitted to lying to us and those present when she said they used a goat and prosthetics during the dog scene. They said it was out of panic.
2. There was no attempt to retract the statement from that point on.
3. They acknowledged that they received a text from MMFF marketing committee Ida Tiongson to coordinate with PAWS about the dog scene.
4. They acknowledged that they received the recommendation to put a disclaimer in the movie that “no animal was harmed during the filming” but chose to not follow the recommendation.
5. Oro production reiterated that No animal was harmed “for the purpose of the film”. They said it was within the bounds of culture in that area where dogs are eaten as food.
6. A real dog was killed during the filming of the movie.
7. No one from the production did the actual killing of the dog.
8. The dog killed and gutted in the film was the same dog seen alive during the establishing shot.
9. ORO brought their own legal counsel to represent them.

We took a more solution-oriented approach. We were open to what both parties will come to in terms of resolution. We facilitated the discussion without necessarily taking a stand AS OF YET because we wanted to be as impartial as we can.

After the Execom heard from each party separately, Atty. Toto Villareal, member of execom and MTRCB Chairman called both lawyers in to discuss a possible resolution.

This was proposed as a joint resolution:

1. There will be a disclaimer in all ticket booths saying the there are graphic scenes that maybe offensive.
2. The scene where there is an alleged animal cruelty will be “blackened” and edited out.
3. Alvin Yapan and ORO production will actively cooperate with PAWS toward an awareness campaign on animal welfare, without prejudice to its pursuit of public discussion in regard to other issues raised by the film.

But Just before the committee delivers the update to the media, atty. Toto Villareal received a call from the lawyer of PAWS saying they do not wish to participate in the joint statement with ORO.

Suffice to say, PAWS was not satisfied with the turnout. Very understandable because they were requesting for pullout and stripping of awards, and it was not granted at the time of the meeting.

Much as we want things to be decided on right then and there, Please understand that as a committee, we need to reconvene and discuss all these new information before we arrive at a decision. Hindi rin po madali sa amin ang pagtimbang ng Lahat ng mga bagay-bagay and at the same time, alamin kung ano Lang ang saklaw namin as an execom: what sanctions can we explore and can we implement?This needs to be discussed thoroughly by the committee. This is why we relied on the decision of the legal counsels muna and comply with what has been agreed upon.

On the possible crime committed, MMFF has no legal competence to make decision on evidentiary matters, especially on those that go beyond the depiction of any film entry.

MMFF Executive Committee is acting on “good faith”. Wala po kaming bias or kinikilingan. I want to take this opportunity to strongly emphasize that despite mixed reactions on the initial decision, MMFF executive committee has not condoned nor will ever condone any cruelty to animals. Neither will it allow the Festival to be the vehicle for any such actions.

Nilalatag po namin lahat at binubusisi ang katotohanan ng bawat grupo para maging mas patas at maayos ang desisyon.

The procedure was not perfect, yes, but just like everyone else, we’re taking things as it comes.

Right now, the possible Violation of the Animal Welfare Act is up to the courts to decide should PAWS pursue the case.

On our end, it is obvious that MMFF rules were violated because of ORO’s misrepresentation. This could subject them to specific sanctions from the committee on top of what has already been agreed by the legal counsels present.

This is what will be deliberated on by the committee today.

On the Withdrawal ORO’S FPJ Memorial Award

Upon consultation with the family of the late Fernando Poe Jr., the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Executive Committee announces the withdrawal of the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award recently granted to the film “ORO”. Without making any judgement on the artistic merit of the film or cinematic depiction, the MMFF finds the present controversy on the alleged killing of a dog in the course of the filming of the movie effectively casts a doubt on the movie’s ability to exemplify the human and cultural values espoused by the late Fernando Poe Jr.

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