MANILA -- (UPDATE 2) Marichu Vera-Perez Maceda, one of the pillars of the Philippine movie industry, died on Monday at 6 a.m. due to complications of kidney and heart disease. She was 77.
Her sisters Gina de Venecia and Lilibeth Betchay Vera-Perez Nakpil told ABS-CBN News that Maceda died at a Quezon City hospital where she had been regularly confined for treatments since 2018.
"With great sadness, the Maceda family announces the passing of our beloved mother, Maria Azucena 'Marichu' Vera-Perez Maceda. She succumbed to cardio-respiratory failure on September 7, 2020," the family said in a statement.
Born into the fabled Vera-Perez family that founded Sampaguita Pictures in the pre-World War II era, Maceda parlayed herself as a writer, production designer and producer of many noteworthy projects in and outside Sampaguita, including the classic 1981 movie "Batch 81" directed by Mike de Leon.
She is also credited for laying the foundation of the Philippine movie industry starting with her efforts in the 1970s to make it competitive in the international market.
Fondly called “Manay Ichu,” Maceda helped organize the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund), the Metro Manila Film Festival, the Film Academy of the Philippines, the Philippine Motion Pictures Producers Association, the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) where she headed the International Film Festival Committee.
In 2018, the FDCP recognized Maceda as one of the grand matriarchs of Philippine movies at the Cinematheque Manila.
Along with regaling the audience of tales about the old world glamor of movie greats like Carmen Rosales, Gloria Romero, Susan Roces and others, Maceda also spoke of the value of artistic and commercial films, and the need to give the masses their entertainment fare.
“Remember that aside from being an art form, this is basically a business, so you have to at least break even so you can recover your investment and produce the second film. Para que pa kayo magpoproduce ng bagong pelikula (kung) kayo lang ang nakakaintindi, wala namang manonood? Hindi na kayo makakagawa ng pangalawang pelikula, tandaan n'yo 'yan. Never make a film solely to satisfy yourself. Make your film for a wide audience,” she said.
In many interviews, she also repeatedly mentioned her love for the industry. “Love your craft and love the industry. Don’t expect anything back aside from your investment of course. Huwag mong asahang ibalik kaagad sa ’yo ang ipinakita mong pagmamahal sapagkat balang araw babalik 'yan sa inyo tulad ng tinatamasa ko ngayon.”
Last July 2020, Maceda also expressed her solidarity with ABS-CBN amid its struggle to renew its media franchise.
“It breaks my heart that the people's voice has been ignored," she told ABS-CBN News in her statement. “In this time of deep anxiety, we need all media outlets to keep us informed about the pandemic. Entertainment is also important while in lockdown. With the closure of ABS-CBN, we are left with one less source of reassurance and diversion. I feel that we have become second-class citizens in our country!”
The Vera-Perez family is set to finalize the wake for Maceda this week tentatively set at the chapel of Sampaguita Gardens in Valencia, Quezon City.
In lieu of flowers, the Maceda family will appreciate donations for Mowelfund in her honor.