MANILA, Philippines – The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Executive Committee (ExeCom) suspended Oro producers Feliz Productions and Shandii Bacolod, and director Alvin Yapan from the festival, due to the controversial dog slaughter scene in their movie. (READ: 'Oro' producer speaks up on possible charges over dog slaughter scene)
Their suspension will last a year, the ExeCom said in a statement sent to Rappler on Friday, January 6.
The MMFF ExeCom's actions are due to complaints about the scene from animal rights advocates and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), who believe Oro violated Republic Act 8485 or The Animal Welfare Act of 1998.
Aside from the suspension, the ExeCom will also issue a strong reprimand to the movie's production team for lying and for disregarding their recommendation of having a disclaimer.
In a January 2 meeting with the MMFF ExeCom, the Oro production team, and PAWS, it was revealed that a representative of the film had lied about the scene prior to the festival, saying that they had used a goat and prosthetics. Oro confirmed during the meeting that a dog had died during filming. (READ: 'Oro' rep admits to lying about dog slaughter scene – Liza Diño)
They also acknowledged that they received a text message from the MMFF about coordinating with PAWS over the scene, and received but chose not to follow the MMFF's recommendation of putting a disclaimer in the movie.
The ExeCom said they decided to suspend the producers and director, and to issue a reprimand, after a meeting with Oro representatives on Friday, January 6. The meeting was held to further clarify the issue.
Since the January 2 meeting, the ExeCom has withdrawn the Fernando Poe Jr award from Oro, and the movie has been pulled out of theaters until a new version is submitted.
On the issue, Shandii said in an interview that the team is ready to face the charges that could be filed against them. He also said that no one from the team killed the dog in question and that eating dogs was part of the culture of the area of their shoot.
The MMFF 2016 is set to run until January 10. – Rappler.com