A MINORITY lawmaker in the Philippines on Thursday, October 17, said the animated film “Abominable” should be banned from the country’s movie houses, stressing that it will have a “negative bearing on our integrity as a country and a nation.”
“The movie ‘Abominable’ should be banned, or if it’s already showing in our movie houses, immediately stopped,” said Agusan del Norte 1st district Rep. Lawrence Fortun in a statement.
“Amid calls to boycott the movie, the MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board) cannot just stand [on] the sidelines, and instead, proactively address what could mislead our children, even adults, into believing a foreign country’s claim prejudicial to our national interest to be true and controlling,” he added.
“Abominable,” a joint production by DreamWorks and China’s Pearl Studio, tells the story of a Chinese teenager helping a yeti return to his home.
The animated film drew controversy after it showed in one of its scenes a map showing China’s nine-dash line claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam, one of the claimants of the contested waterway aside from the Philippines, has pulled the movie from its theaters due to this.
According to Fortun, the MTRCB is mandated by law to “empower the Filipino family, particularly parents, and at the grassroots level, such that family members are able to evaluate and intelligently choose media and entertainment content.”
“At the very least, considering the seriousness of the possible repercussions of the movie’s public showing, the MTRCB should should suspend its showing in the meantime that it is investigating the adverse impact it can have in the minds of the Filipino audience,” he added.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., for his part, suggested to cut out the offending scene as well as called for a universal boycott of all DreamWorks productions.
“No less than our Foreign Affairs Secretary has called for its boycott. So, why not just ban it? The MTRCB can very well do that consistent with its mandate,” Fortun said.
He also said that such official action “will be a message to the world that the Philippines has not abandoned the 2016 Hague arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea that invalidated China’s nine-dash line for being contrary to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and thus, bereft of any lawful effect.”
The MTRCB gave “Abominable” a “G”classification before the controversy broke out.
Fortun supposed it was possible that the reviewers and even the top officials of the MTRCB were unaware of the nine-dash line map in the movie.
“Had they been aware, they might have exercised more prudence and acted accordingly,” he noted.