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‘Oro’ dog slaughter scene mars MMFF

/ 11:17 PM January 02, 2017
ORO title card

Image from the ‘Oro’ official trailer

Early on Monday, the members of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s executive committee met with representatives of Paws (Philippine Animal Welfare Society) and the movie “Oro”—to discuss the film’s dog slaughter scene, which is now the subject of an inquiry.

Hours after the meeting, Sen. Grace Poe, daughter of Action King Fernando Poe Jr., weighed in on the matter because “Oro” had received the FPJ Memorial Award at the MMFF.

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Poe said: “I call on the MMFF organizers to look into the matter of whether a dog was actually butchered as part of the filming of the movie ‘Oro’ in violation of the existing law on animal welfare.”

If the violation is proven, Poe “would move for the invalidation of the FPJ award given to the film.”

Poe called for the MMFF and the film’s producers “to fully cooperate with the concerned government agency for the immediate investigation on this matter.”

She reiterated: “Artistic license does not justify the violation of our laws.”

Poe explained her stand: “Though I am not part of the jury that decided on the award, it is my responsibility to uphold the values of [the late] FPJ. He would never condone an act of animal cruelty.”

Poe further clarified: “Aside from the possible criminal liability if indeed proven, the MMFF should also consider applicable administrative sanctions against the producers and/or filmmakers for any misrepresentation before the MMFF selection committee on this matter which in itself may already justify the movie being stripped of any and all awards it received among other sanctions.”

The MMFF, through its spokesperson Noel Ferrer, issued this statement, in response to Poe: “The MMFF welcomes… the call of Senator Poe… As previously stated, the MMFF does not condone any such wrongdoing or any misrepresentation is such regard.”

The MMFF stated that it didn’t pull out “Oro” because of the film’s “prior representation that no dog was actually killed…”

(In the meeting, “Oro” director Alvin Yapan, however, admitted that a dog had been killed.)

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In the same statement, the MMFF promised to “monitor the undertakings made by the makers of ‘Oro.’”

Eugenio Villareal, chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, told the Inquirer: “The MTRCB does not condone and will never condone the killing in fact of animals in the course of, or in connection with, filming any movie. Nothwithstanding the result of any review based on bare on-screen depictions, it will always cooperate with relevant authorities to the end that the above is not perpetrated.” The MTRCB gave “Oro” a rating of PG Parental Guidance (PG).

Earlier, the MMFF related that Yapan has “recognized the concerns raised by Paws” and has agreed to “execute a written disclaimer addressed to the general audience… come up with an amended version of the film more in keeping with animal welfare … and cooperate with Paws toward an awareness campaign on animal welfare …”

Paws executive director Anna Cabrera, however, posted on Facebook that the organization had called on the pull-out of the film from local theaters during the meeting.

(The MMFF ends on Jan. 3, however.)

She noted: “Any self-respecting film outfit would return the awards borne out of this atrocity and voluntarily withdraw from the MMFF.”

In the social media post, Cabrera addressed the MMFF executive committee: “If you cannot pull out the showing of a film whose production hides behind the technicality of having no direct hand in the animal cruelty, some degree of ethics must dictate deep within that you have to at least let them know that their complicity in the matter—the filming of a crime and using it for their entry—is unacceptable.”

According to Ferrer, Yapan told the MMFF executive committee during the inquiry: “We didn’t kill the dog. We shot a [scene showing] culture of violence in a place where rampant dog killing takes place. /ATM

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TAGS: Alvin Yapan, Ferando Poe Jr., FPJ Memorial Award, Grace Poe, Metro Manila Film Festival, MMFF, Oro dog slaughter scene, Paws, Philippine Animal Welfare Society
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