Indigenous People’s watch started a petition to Presidential Adviser for culture and the arts ” Ka Freddie” Aguilar and 6 others. It was addressed to ABS-CBN for the show they called ” Bagani”, a teleserye series that would feature actors Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil.
The petition called the attention of Freddie Agular, Chairman Virgilio S. Almario of the NCCA and Chairman Rene Escalante as well as Chairman Bantayan of NHCP and NCIP. House Speaker Pantaleon ‘ Bebot Alvarez” and Philippine Congresswoman Nancy Alaan Catamco and Indigenous Welfare advocate Bae Jennifer Pia Sibug was also included among many others.
Melissa Claire Icdang Barrera’s open letter now circulating on social media states that the creators of the Show ” Bagani” did not pay proper homage to the real Baganis. The show contradicts the very essence of what it means to be a Bagani.
In her statement she quoted:
“As a Lumad, I take offense in the use of the term ‘Bagani’ as the title for your upcoming teleserye that doesn’t even pay proper homage to our real Baganis. It is an outright disrespect to our history and culture when the use of this term contradicts the very essence of what it means to be a Bagani.
Being a Bagani does not only mean ‘to have exemplary fighting skills’, but to be able to defend the people from colonizers and entities who are robbing us off from/ of our identity. An identity that is attached to our lands, culture and heritage. So when you use the term Bagani for a teleserye that is devoid of historical and cultural context, you are actually lambasting the memoirs and integrity of our warriors.
The writers of the said teleserye (headed by Mr. Mark Angos) cannot hide under artistic license or the claim of fictionality because they are using a part of our culture for different agenda. This is a classic example of cherry-picking cultures for the sake of profiteering at the expense of revising our narratives.
This does not mean that one cannot take inspiration from diversity. But I deem that there is a proper way to do it. Big corporations such as ABS-CBN are capable enough to do extensive research for productions that are inspired from indigenous stories or as how Mr. Angos puts it, ‘Philippine mythologies’.
For others, this may seem to be a minor error. But it’s already 2018 and Lumads are still victims of cultural misappropriations. Shows like this—especially those that are broadcast nationwide—perpetuate the continuous trivialization of our history and narratives. It furthers the haze that prevents Filipinos from knowing and relating to the different ethnolinguitic groups of this country.
I stand that if ABS-CBN continues to air the said teleserye on March 4, THEY MUST REFRAIN FROM USING THE TERM BAGANI AS ITS TITLE. However, it would do more justice to all Filipinos that THEY HALT THE AIRING OF THE SAID TELESERYE AND OVERHAUL ALL OF ITS ELEMENTS INCLUDING THE CASTING, THE PLOT, THE PHILOSOPHY/IES AND LENS/ES USED FOR THE STORY.
The petitioners are against the wrong portrayal of the Manobo Tribe. Melchor Umpan Bayawan who is a bonafide Manobo has taken the initiative on social media to inform the writer Mark Angos the writer of ABS_CBN ” Bagani” teleserye .
BAGANI BACKGROUND FROM A MANOBO PERSPECTIVE IN MINDANAO
Bagani are tribal defenders of their territory or ancestral land. They are not selected by anybody to become a Bagani but they are anointed by a spirit called “Mondaangan.”
A group of Bagani is composed of seven (7) men; always ready for a fight to defend their community. They devote themselves to Mondaangan who watches over them but they submit to the authority of their chief Datu as the head of the community.
Most of the time they fought against individuals with bad intentions and group of people that creates or instigates trouble to the community – the “Mongayow.”
Each Bagani brings with him a weapon, either a sword (polihuma), bow and arrow (pana), spear (pongassu) coupled with a wooden shield (kalasag).
Before they go to face an enemy, it is their practice to perform first a ritual to pay respect to Mondaangan and request to bless their weapons. It is said that Baganis when already given or granted with the blessing from the Mondaangan, they are characterized or described to be with fierce looking face with blood-red eyes.
It is thus a blatant disrespect committed by this writer; taking advantage of our culture and traditions for their own selfish interest.
May a divine retribution befalls on you!
The ongoing petition for the show ” Bagani” included the Section 32 of Community Intellectual rights for ICCs/IPs.
SECTION 32. Community Intellectual Rights. — ICCs/IPs have the right to practice and revitalize their own cultural traditions and customs. The State shall preserve, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures as well as the right to the restitution of cultural, intellectual, religious, and spiritual property taken without their free and prior informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.- IPRA
An official statement is to be issued tomorrow, 05 March 2018 at the EUROTEL HOTEL in front of SM North in Quezon City during the press conference which is called for the purpose of taking a common firm stand and map out activities to “protect” the desecration of the heritage of the Manobo tribe.
IN A RELATED DEVELOPMENT, ‘Bagani’ teleserye under fire from CHED commissioner for misuse of term.
March 04, 2018 05:30 pm
Commissioner Ronald Adamat of CHED is requesting ABS-CBN for ” immediate clarification and explanation” of the term “Bagani” in a TV show. Dr. Adamat a former representive of the Indigenous People Sector, addressed a formal letter to Carlo Katigbak, the president of ABS-CBN.
“The undersigned… would like to seek immediate clarification and explanation from ABS-CBN as to how and why the term ‘Bagani’, which is an Indigenous Peoples terminology and endemic only to IPs [Indigenous Peoples], ended up used in a teleserye that I suspect is devoid of real meaning and substance.”
Adamat said he spoke both as an IP himself and as a CHED commissioner regarding the issue. He cited that he was “deeply bothered about the portrayal of ‘Bagani’ in a teleserye as being a ‘bayani with magical powers.'”
“The writers and producers of this teleserye may have overlooked and neglected the cultural sensitivities of our Indigenous Peoples hence they owe us an explanation or clarification,” he stated.
“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.”
It is noted that even before the premiere, the TV show was already hit by controversy when its trailer revealed mixed-race actors like Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil- and how they were given fake brown skin to appear darker.
As of this writing, ABS-CBN has yet to issue a public response to Adamat’s letter. JB
For those who want to sign and support the petition go to: