By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang left it to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) if it would ban from Philippine theaters a Spanish animated film depicting Lapu-Lapu as a villain in the journey of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Filipino netizens were enraged with the teaser trailer and promotional poster for the upcoming Spanish animated movie “Elcano and Magellan, The First Voyage Around the World” for supposedly depicting Lapu-Lapu as a villain.
Based on the synopsis found in the movie’s official website, the film, created by Spain-based Dibulitoon Studio, is about the adventures of Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano.
“One of the most complete adventures ever told. A voyage to the unknown that started with Magellan in command and was concluded by Juan Sebastián Elcano. Storms, hunger, hostile tribes… Five ships sailed off from Seville. Three years later, only one of them managed to return, bringing their adventure full circle and finally proving that planet Earth is round,” it read.
Filipino-American author and former BuzzFeed editor Matt Ortile slammed the film, saying it depicted Magellan as a hero and Filipinos as “romantic interests, understanding supporters, or antagonists.” Based on the trailer, Elcano, seemed to have a “princess” for a love interest and Lapu-Lapu was also depicted as a villain in the film.
In his Thursday press briefing, Panelo said it was up to the MTRCB if it would ban the film from being screened in the Philippines.
“I think that’s the jurisdiction of the MTRCB. Sila ang magde-decide noon (They are the ones deciding on that). We will not want to preempt the jurisdiction of that agency,” he said.
The MTRCB last month pulled out the Dreamworks animated film “Abominable” for showing China’s disputed nine-dash line in the South China Sea.
President Duterte never failed to express his admiration for Lapu-Lapu, stressing how it “pained” him to see the Visayan ruler relegated to a mere species of fish.
“As a footnote, just the — a vignette of life, Lapu-Lapu was the first Filipino to kill a foreigner who invaded our country,” Duterte said in a speech last year.
Duterte even signed Republic Act (RA) 11040 declaring April 27 as Lapu-Lapu Day or Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu in Cebu in honor of the Visayan hero.
Philippine history dictated that Magellan was on his way to the Spice Islands when he stumbled on Mactan Island and met chieftain Lapu-Lapu and his men. Lapu-Lapu opposed the plan of the Spaniards to conquer the island, resulting to the Battle of Mactan where Magellan was killed in combat.