The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Executive Committee announces the withdrawal of the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award granted to the film “Oro.” The decision of recalling the award came after animal rights advocate and moviegoers questioned a dog-slaughter scene in the movie.
The MMFF met both the producers of the film and representatives from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) on Monday to address the issue. A representative of “Oro” who was present during the EXECOM screening admitted of lying to MMFF. The representative has previously claimed that they used a goat and prosthetics for the controversial dog scene. A real dog was indeed killed during the filming of the movie.
“Upon consultation with the family of the late Fernando Poe Jr., the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Executive Committee announces the withdrawal of the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award recently granted to the film “ORO”. Without making any judgement on the artistic merit of the film or cinematic depiction, the MMFF finds the present controversy on the alleged killing of a dog in the course of the filming of the movie effectively casts a doubt on the movie’s ability to exemplify the human and cultural values espoused by the late Fernando Poe Jr.”, said Liza Diño of MMFF.
The EXECOM said that the present controversy casts a doubt on the movie’s ability to exemplify the human and cultural values espoused by the late FPJ.
“We would like to reiterate that the Mmff Executive Committee takes this opportunity to strongly emphasize that it has not condoned nor will ever condone any cruelty to animals. Neither will it allow the festival to be the vehicle for such actions,” Diño added.
The PAWS said that the “director, producer, crew, and (possibly) the actors and extras, violated the Animal Welfare Act by procuring a dog for slaughter, & having it killed–whether by them directly or by some other people–for the movie.”
PAWS is preparing to file criminal case against those who killed the dog & against the people who watched or filmed the crime. The Animal Welfare Act imposes a penalty of 2 years&1 day to 3 years imprisonment, and/or a fine not exceeding P250,000.
The animal rights advocates also asked the MMFF execom to pull it out from cinemas, revoke all awards and impose administrative sanctions on the “Oro” team.
The MMFF has ordered the pulling out of the present version of “Oro” in theaters out of prudence.