The casting of the newest ABS-CBN fantasy series Bagani has sparked outcry on social media over foreign-looking actors being cast in a story inspired by pre-colonial Philippine mythology.
Following the issue, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) demanded for an immediate clarification and explanation of the term ‘Bagani’.
CHED Commissioner Ronald Adamat addressed a letter Friday to ABS CBN president Carlo Katigbak concerning his complaints against Bagani.
Adamat revealed that he had also sent copies of the letter to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
He asserted in his letter that the writers and producers of Bagani may have overlooked and neglected the cultural sensitivities of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) and that they owe the public an explanation to prevent an adverse reaction from the IP sector.
In a Facebook post, Adamat also explained why he sent the letter.
He said that the use of term Bagani in the show appears violative of its real meaning based on IP sector perspective. “It is noteworthy to state that BAGANI is an IP term and should not be used in a teleserye that is devoid of its true meaning and substance,” Adamat reiterated.
“It is not enough for writers and producers of movies and teleseryes to come up with concepts, titles, and characters that would sell and create blockbusters yet carry with them half-truths and lies that destroy and negate the real essence of an IP terminology, as in the case of Bagani, and instead bring injustice to the 14 million Filipino IPs.
“Further, as CHED Commissioner, I cannot tolerate the public showing of the said teleserye as long as ABS-CBN would not revise the format and concept in order to render ‘Bagani’ to become as educational as it can be, and make the same as historically-accurate and culturally-correct presentation of what the real ‘Bagani’ is from an IP perspective,” Adamat said in his letter.
Adamat was a former representative of the Indigenous People (IP) Sector during the 10th Congress,
‘Not a historical series‘
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Bagani business unit head Lourdes (Des) de Guzman-Tanwangco clarified that Bagani is not based on Philippine pre-colonial times and is not a historical series.
Tangwangco said that the show is inspired by some Filipino mythologies but it’s just all fiction, after all, it is discerned as ‘fantaserye’.
Soberano and Gil’s characters were only supposed to be seen during the pilot week but eventually chosen to top-bill the series.
According to Tanwangco, they started shooting for Bagani during the second quarter of 2017.
Bagani is set to air for 26 weeks on prime-time, and is still undecided if there’s any extension as Soberano will have to start shooting for Darna movie.
Soberano’s mother is an American, while Gil has a German and Spanish descent. It also features Sofia Andres, Makisig Morales, and Matteo Guidicelli, whose father is Italian.
Bagani is under the unit of Star Creatives, which is helmed by Tanwangco and Malou Santos.