Atienza Seeks State Approval for Historical-Film Scripts

The last time we checked, we're still kind of in a democracy.

PHOTO BY Lito Atienza Facebook Page

( BUHAY Party List Representative and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Jose “Lito” Atienza Jr. is pushing for the Film Development Council of the Philippines to review screenplays for historical films for approval to ensure their quality and accuracy so they can be given appropriate tax incentives.

This initiative is apparently driven by his annoyance at Jerrold Tarog’s recently released film Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral,  which showed Gregorio del Pilar dying from a gunshot to his neck, a death that apparently wasn’t consistent with Atienza’s expectation of glorious heroic deaths. He expected del Pilar to have died astride his horse, nobly charging into battle. But this death is largely a romanticized version propagated by Americans; the account of the actual incident is corroborated by Del Pilar’s aide-de-camp Vicente Enriquez and Telesforo Carrasco, a Spanish lieutenant in Emilio Aguinaldo’s army.

Atienza acknowledges that multiple sources were consulted to ensure the historical accuracy of the film. However, Atienza said that Filipinos need to be “inspired” by our heroes. So incensed was Atienza by Del Pilar’s death scene in the film that he said he cursed, stood up, and told his wife that they should leave the theater.


Atienza also said that historical films should depict the heroism of Filipinos and, if necessary, that adjustments should be made to amp up the heroism and lessen the suggestion of cowardice, a suggestion that goes well beyond creative license and could arguably be considered propaganda.

The attempt to glorify Philippine history in the face of actual historical facts is not lost on people in the film industry. Film producer and screenwriter Moira Lang has commented isa itong bangungot,” referring to state approval of scripts prior to production.

The same attempt to muzzle filmmakers was seen during Martial Law, when the Board of Censors for Motion Pictures was created to regulate films and to approve scripts before films were made.

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