MANILA – Liza Diño, the head of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), finally broke her silence three days after receiving an official communication from Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Danilo Lim about her removal as part of the executive committee of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
In an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Sunday morning, Diño shared that she received the “strongly worded” document on July 23, but it was already after she saw the post of MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago accusing the FDCP of currently lobbying to be in charge of the MMFF.
“We just attended the executive committee meeting that Friday. Before, wala namang sinabi sa amin about the whole issue or any concern. MMDA is also part of the FDCP council. They are a board of trustee. So, as government agencies, there are proper processes by which these concerns should be raised,” she said.
Regarding the FDCP’s move to have the MMFF transferred to its jurisdiction, Diño explained that this was first raised by the agency in 2017.
“For the last 30 years po, kahit na ang original presidential proclamation natin ay ang sinasabi Metro Manila lang po ang coverage ng MMFF at 10 days lang po instead of 14 days, ang practice po natin ay buong Pilipinas po ang nagpapalabas ng MMFF, at two weeks po siya instead of 10 days,” she said.
“In 2016, because the movies were not performing in comparison to how films were performing in the previous years, ni-reference po yung provision po ng law na yun originally para paikliin ang duration at ilimita sa Metro Manila ang pagpapalabas,” she added.
Seeing this gap, the FDCP “created a proposal for an executive order and a position paper on why there is a need to expand and extend the MMFF to cover a two-week run and to cover the entire Philippines officially.”
With this position, Diño believes the FDCP is acting within its legal mandate. She noted it is only appropriate for FDCP to oversee a national film festival because MMDA has jurisdiction only over Metro Manila.
“Nasa mandato po namin mismo yung establishment, operation and pag-run ng film festivals. And of course, as the national film agency of the country, a film festival that’s very integral in shaping the Philippine film industry, rational lang po talaga na nasa ahensya po ng FDCP ang MMFF,” she said.
Nonetheless, Diño shared that there were no further actions on the matter since it was last taken up in 2017.
“Wala pa pong update after that… Kami wala rin po kaming move because nirerespeto namin yung…we are on a status quo. Actually after that, we have been invited in 2018, 2019 and even this 2020 executive committee. Sumuporta po kami at tinatanggap po namin yung imbitasyon ng MMFF para maging parte kami ng executive committee because we support and we respect process,” she said.
In fact, Diño admitted that running a film festival is not within the FDCP’s immediate priorities as of the moment.
“Kung sinasabi niyang (Pialago) currently kaming nagla-lobby, and then pinost niya yung 2017 position paper of the FDCP… nagulat kami kasi as far as we know, sa end ng FDCP, iba po ang mga prayoridad namin ngayon. Hindi po namin prayoridad ngayon ang film festivals dahil mas marami pa pong mga issue at mga pangangailangan ang industriya because of this pandemic,” she said.
As such, Diño said they immediately reached out to the MMDA for clarification “because we need to address this in a proper way.”
“Actually, ang talagang question lang po namin sa MMFF is why was there a post by the MMFF spokesperson referencing a 2017 document na napag-usapan na po ng aming board at wala pong further action na nangyayari, and then bakit po kami naka-receive ng ganito?” she said.
When asked if she will recognize Lim’s order, Diño said: “Of course, we will respect the decision of the board, we will respect the decision of the MMFF. But as a government agency, there are proper processes on this because siyempre po, unintentionally, nata-tarnish po yung pangalan ng FDCP on something na wala po kaming kinalaman right now.”
Diño said there is a meeting set for the FDCP and the MMDA after President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address to thresh out these concerns.
Despite the apparent differences, Diño said the two agencies have a common goal and that is “to support the film industry.”