ABS-CBN releases statement on 'Bagani' controversy
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Star Creatives, the business unit behind the show Bagani, has released a statement on the show which premiered on Monday, March 5.
Before the teleserye aired, the show was criticized for casting mestizo actors and mestiza actresses when the the story was set during the pre-colonial times. Liza Soberano, who plays the role of Ganda, defended herself from the backlash after many netizens questioned her citizenship. The actress is part Filipino, part American. (READ: ‘Bagani’ draws flak for casting, Liza Soberano responds)
In the statement, ABS-CBN said they did extensive research for the show and clarified the use of the word "bagani."
"The concept of ABS-CBN’s new fantaserye 'Bagani' is to feature warriors, protectors, and heroes who espouse Filipino values and beliefs.
"The production team did intensive research to determine a distinctly Filipino term that embodies a champion who fights for the common good of his tribe or family—somebody who is brave, honorable, self-sacrificing, and good-hearted. In the end, the team recognized that the term and concept of a 'Bagani' best solidifies the traits that the program wants to highlight," they said.
It also pointed out that by using the word "bagani," they did not mean to treat the beliefs and culture of the indigenous people's community lightly. They also added that they hoped to spread good values of a Filipino warrior through this show.
The statement from ABS-CBN came after the Commission on Higher Education's (CHED) Ronald Adamat sent a letter to ABS-CBN president Karlo Katigbak last March 2 questioning the use of the word "bagani."
In the letter, Adamat states: "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 (Indigenous People) terminology, as in the case of Bagani, and instead bring injustice to the 14 million Filipino IPs."
"To be clear, the "Bagani" fantaserye does not purport itself to be a historical account of Philippine history or culture. The program has always maintained that it has created an alternative fictional universe with elements of Filipino mythology and folklore that simply serves as an avenue to creatively deliver and highlight Filipino values, beliefs, and heroism," according to ABS-CBN.
Bagani also stars Enrique Gil, Sofia Andres, Makisig Morales, and Matteo Guidcelli. –Rappler.com