It is up to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board if it would pull out the Spanish-produced animated film from Philippine cinemas which has drawn flak online over its depictions of history and vilification of the country’s hero Lapu-Lapu, Malacañang said Thursday.
The film “Elcano and Magellan, The First Voyage Around the World” was slated to be released in the country in January 2020.
The synopsis states that it would portray the adventures of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Spaniard Juan Sebastian Elcano.
The film’s trailer depicts Magellan’s ship reaching an island where his crew was welcomed by a tribe.
Several Filipinos took offense on the film as Lapu-Lapu was depicted as the villain for blocking the colonizers.
Twitter user @satvrncat said: “Stop depicting colonizers as good guys.”
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said it was the MTRCB’s responsibility to review the film and determine if it should be shown in the country.
“They are the ones deciding on that. We will not want to preempt the jurisdiction of that agency,” he said.
Last month, the MTRCB pulled out the animated film “Abominable” for showing China’s disputed nine-dash line in the South China Sea, which was junked by the international tribunal.
Historically, Magellan was on his way to the Mollucas islands or Spice islands when he had arrived on what is now called Philippine shores in 1521, where he met chieftain Lapu-Lapu and his men.
Lapu-Lapu opposed the plan of the Spaniards to conquer the island and Magellan was killed in combat.
President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his admiration for Lapu-Lapu.
“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 the Republic Act 11040 declaring April 27 as Lapu-Lapu Day in Cebu in honor of the Visayan hero.