Metro Manila Film Festival

MMDA chief Danilo Lim removes Liza Diño from MMFF executive committee

'After your first botched attempt to transfer administration of MMFF to you and your office, we were expecting you to resign out of delicadeza,' the MMDA chief tells Liza Diño in a letter

Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chair Liza Diño has been removed from the executive committee of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

In a letter addressed to Diño, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Danilo Lim said they decided to “withdraw” Diño’s appointment after her foiled bid to transfer the management of the MMFF to the FDCP.

“After your first botched attempt to transfer administration of MMFF to you and your office, we were expecting you to resign out of delicadeza,” Lim said in the letter dated July 21, before telling Diño that they have withdrawn her appointment to the MMFF executive committee.

“As early as 2016, you already made efforts to transfer management of MMFF from MMDA to FDCP. You even wrote a letter to Malacañan asking for extension of festival period for MMFF and to transfer chairmanship of MMFF from the undersigned to you,” Lim wrote.

He also said that Diño had accused the MMFF of being involved in controversies, which he didn’t specify. Lim said that Diño should have been defending the MMFF, as a member of its executive committee.

“Recent events and information coming to our office indicate that you have not given up on your dream to take over the chairmanship of MMFF and to take it away from MMDA and is actively pursuing the same,” he said.

Lim said that Diño’s actions “are inimical to MMFF and reek of conflict of interest.”

In his letter, Lim appeared to be referring to a proposal from FDCP to expand the MMFF and transfer its management to the FDCP. The undated and unsigned document, printed on paper with the FDCP header, was posted by MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago on her Facebook page on July 20.

In her post, Pialago said. “Taon-taon na lang natin pinaguusapan ito (We discuss this every year) Chair Diño, ang MMFF nga po belongs to MMDA.”

Siguro piece of advice, Madam, ayusin ‘nyo po muna ang Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino bago po ninyo pag-interesan ang MMFF (Maybe a piece of advice, Madam, fix the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino before you take interest in MMFF),” Pialago said.

The MMFF is an annual festival that runs from December 25 to the first weekend of January. It is meant to promote Philippine cinema, with no foreign films being screened in theaters during the festival’s run.

The festival already announced the first 4 films on its line-up for this year’s festival, despite theaters remaining closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. –