Press Release
October 4, 2015


Citing the need to spur meaningful discussions among the youth, Senator Grace Poe is urging public schools to hold screenings of historical films, including the recent biopic "Heneral Luna," for their students.

Poe, who used to chair the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), also said it would be good if cinemas in the provinces showed "Heneral Luna," which has emerged as a surprising success in Metro Manila.

"A lot of significant historical films have been produced in the past; I encourage our teachers to take advantage of these movies to help the youth understand and appreciate Philippine history," Poe said, but reminded schools to strictly observe the patronage ratings set by the MTRCB.

The film "Heneral Luna" tells the story of General Antonio Luna, commander of the Philippine Revolutionary Army during the Philippine-American War. While it claims to be based on historical events, the film raises some controversial facts, particularly about the Philippine Republic's first president, Emilio Aguinaldo, who is believed to have ordered the killing of peasant leader Andres Bonifacio and his brother, and according to the film, Gen. Luna as well.

Although films are unable to present the complete picture, they are useful teaching aids for educators because students enjoy them, and hence, pay attention, explained Poe, herself a former teacher.

"Movies are tools, like books. But it still the responsibility of teachers and instructors to present different historical accounts and challenge their students to think critically," she said.

Poe urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to initiate talks with movie industry leaders to discuss how the DepEd can hold film viewings in history classes, with respect to the film producers' rights.

"We have intelligent and talented filmmakers who share our desire to educate the youth. I'm sure they would be more than willing to help in whatever way they can. It is, after all, an investment in the future of our country. We cannot have misguided leaders who do not even know their history or appreciate the heroism of their countrymen," Poe said.

The public's response to "Heneral Luna" has been both encouraging and enlightening as it showed a renewed interest in Philippine history but also a worrisome degree of historical ignorance among today's students, some of whom did not even know that Apolinario Mabini, the "Sublime Paralytic" was, in fact, paralyzed.

Poe said there were many other films about the lives of heroes, such as "Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo" and "El Presidente." Older movies that may be useful for teaching include "Jose Rizal" (1999), "Bayaning Third World" (2000), "Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon" (1976), which was set during the Spanish period, and "Oro Plata Mata" (1982), which depicts the Filipino struggle during the Japanese occupation.

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