By Neil Ramos and Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Maria Azucena Vera-Perez Maceda, “Manay Ichu” to most, passed away today, Sept. 7.
She succumbed to cardio respiratory failure in a Quezon City hospital, her family said in a statement. She was 77.
Senate President President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Grace Poe said the Philippine film industry has lost another pillar following Maceda’s death.
“Our beloved Manay Ichu will now rest at the bosom of the Lord our God. The movie industry will never be the same. We owe her a lot. We love her deeply,” Sotto, a former actor, posted on Twitter.
Poe said: “We’ve lost a pillar and vanguard of Philippine cinema.”
“Manay Ichu will remain an inimitable beacon of generosity and greatness who touched many lives. We will hold tight to her memories and be forever grateful,” said the senator, daughter of veteran actress Susan Roces, who worked with Sampaguita Pictures that was owned by the Vera-Perez family.
Senator Nancy Binay also expressed grief and extended her condolences to Maceda’s family.
“Rest in peace our dearest Manay Ichu. Maraming salamat sa mga payo, kuwentuhan, at alaala. You will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Vera Perez-Maceda family,” Binay also tweeted.
“Nakikiramay po tayo sa naiwan ni Manay Ichu (We expressed our sympathies to those left behind by Manay Ichu),” dzBB anchor Ali Sotto said.
“Matagal na pong may karamdaman si Manay Ichu, as she is lovingly called. So she has been ill for a long time. Lumalaban lang siya (A lingering illness had been bothering Manay Ichu), as she is lovingly called. So she has been ill for a long time. Lumalaban lang siya (But she kept on fighting).
“For the past days, marami ang (there were a number of) request for her healing but God, in His wisdom, has decided to bring her home.
“Sa lahat ng nagmamahal sa pamilya ni Manay Ichu, labis po ang aming pakikiramay.”
Maceda literally grew up within the industry.
Her family owned Sampaguita Pictures, one of the first and biggest film production companies in the country.
Ultimately, Maceda herself became a film producer.
Her credits include landmark films “Dyesebel” and “Batch ’81.”
She also helped found the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund), The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), the Philippine Motion Pictures Producers Association, the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).
“Manay Ichu is an exceptional force in the film industry. She has helped found the current pillars of Philippine Cinema has has made steadfast strides for its further development. We are more than honored to recognize her for her life’s work,” said FDCP Chairperson Liza Diño in honoring her as among mothers of Philippine Cinema in 2018.
She was married to the late Senator Ernesto Maceda and survived by their children — Emmanuel, Ernesto Jr., Erwin, Edmond, and Edward Maceda.