(Following is an interview with a former guild president on the present plight of the Film Academy. Upon his request, we are using Darth Vader for his moniker.—AJS)
“The Film Academy was created by an Executive Order, meaning presidente ng Pilipinas ang gumawa niyan kaya hindi puwedeng isara ng kung sino lang. Yes, kahit yang BOG (FAP Board of Governors) magmumukhang tanga sila pag naglabas sila ng resolution to close down. Only another E.O. (Executive Order) can close FAP.” Darth Vader adds with pride that the Film Academy is a premiere organization in the movie industry although he is wondering why the budget was slashed by the government.
“Since E.O. ang nag-create kaya ang presidente ng Pilipinas lang ang may K na mag-appoint ng Director General. In other words, ha, hindi tama ang nangyayari sa Academy ngayon na merong election tsutsu. Once na may na-appoint na DG ang president, yung DG na yun ang hahatak kung sinong Deputy ang gusto niya, kung sinong secretary ang gusto niya at kung sinong treasurer ang gusto niya. That way kasi walang hassle, walang red tape at smooth ang operation dahil walang kokontra.” Darth Vader emphasizes the present erroneous setup of the Film Academy where the officers, from the Chairman down to the secretary, are voted upon by the so-called Board of Governors.
“At yan ang isang anomalya sa Academy. Bakit may chairman? Tingnan mo ang charter ng FAP, walang chairman na indicated dun.” Not mincing his words anymore, Darth Vader bluntly accuses some people of modifying the organizational setup of the Film Academy. “Ulitin ko lang, ha? After the president of the Philippines had appointed a Director General, yung DG na ang bahalang humatak ng makakatulong niyang officers. Ganito kasi ang nangyari nyan.” Momentarily, Darth Vader pauses as if to verify in his mind the facts he is about to unload.
“Sa pagdating ni Leo Martinez bilang Director General. Parang nataranta ang FAP board. Madalian na nag-meeting to create the position of chairman tapos election agad para maibotong chairman yung outgoing Director General. Wise guys, ano? Railroading yata ang tawag dun. Alam mo, that’s one way of perpetuating oneself in the position, di ba?” Darth Vader exudes a mischievous smile like a kid who had executed a neat prank. He himself doesn’t want to name names though. “Walang personalan ito, iginagalang ko pa rin silang lahat. Gusto ko lang sabihin ang totoo na sinira nila ang sistema ng FAP.” Darth Vader even relates that not once did he read in the papers about the not so silent bickering among the top honchos of FAP due to the organizational flaw.
“Hindi pa natapos dun. Binigyan nila ng power ang BOG para makialam sa operation ng Academy. So ang nangyari ngayon parang walang independence ang Director General dahil halos lahat ng galaw niya dapat involved ang BOG. Di ba may kasabihan na if you don’t want the job done eh give it to a committee? Ganun ang nangyayari sa FAP ngayon, parang yung BOG ang nagpapatakbo kaya hindi smooth, hindi efficient at puro pulitika tuloy.” Darth Vader puts an accent to the minor policies of the Film Academy that should be have been borne solely on the shoulders of the Director General. Further, he intimates that some good projects went to naught due to the faulty setup of requiring the consensus of the FAP Board.
The FAP Board of Governors, meeting for the Luna Awards
“Maganda nga ang idea ni Leo Martinez when he came in. Para siyang shepherd na hinakot ang mga guilds sa iisang bubong. Tapos siya rin ang may gusto na magkaroon ng computer ang bawat guild. Biruin mo, ako nga eh tumanda na sa typewriter pero dahil kay Leo nakakapag-internet pa ko ngayon at may email pa ko, ha?” Pushing for the utilization of the present technology, the FAP website was included in the list of Leo’s initial projects. But sadly, the first website contractor had a hidden agenda which resulted in a grave misunderstanding. “Muntik na ngang maloko ang FAP noon, buti na lang dumating ka,” adds Darth Vader, referring to this writer who is also the Technical Consultant of the Film Academy.
“Naku, nagsawa kami sa mga workshops, seminars at kung ano pang mga tsu-tsu na projects. Buhay na buhay ang mga taga-industry sa FAP noon. Pero as I said, nahaluan ng pulitika. Mahirap na lang magsalita dahil baka kung ano pa ang masabi ko. Eh naalala mo ba yung isang deputy?” It pains Darth Vader to think that a former Deputy Director General was ousted via voting of the FAP Board. He is insisting that if the FAP charter was followed then no voting was to be held. He reiterates that it is the Director General’s responsibility to hire and fire officers and staff.
“Sa totoo lang, binaboy nila ang by-laws ng FAP. I don’t want to name names pero alam nila kung sino sila. Until now, kapit-tuko pa rin sila sa position. Ngayon si Leo ang nagpapakahirap na kumilos para makakuha ng pondo, si Leo ang sumusulat sa media, siya ang nagpapa-interview. Yung mga kapit-tuko, me ginawa ba?” Fire is surely spitting out from Darth Vader’s mouth as if he has an ax to grind against some FAP officers. Although, in a way, he is praising Leo Martinez, it is ironic that Darth Vader was kind of sarcastic on Leo’s combative stance against Vic Del Rosario of Viva, the presidential consultant who proposed the budget cut for FAP. “Ang iniisip ko lang naman yung FAP mismo kaya hindi talaga personal ito. As I said, I still respect those people and… wag sanang magalit ang masasagasaan ko.”
“Having the guild presidents in the board compounds the problem. Aba, tingnan mo nga ang majority ng guild presidents, aba eh mahirap na lang mangmata ng tao. Ano ba ang alam nila sa organizational management, ha? Tapos sila ang gagawa ng policy eh ano ang ilalabas ng mga utak nila? As I said, guild nga lang nila hindi nila maayos tapos makikialam pa sila sa affairs ng FAP. Kaya yung BID project, ano’ng nangyari?” Since 2 years ago, the BID (Bureau of Immigration and Deportation) has a MOA with FAP regarding foreign film productions. That FAP is to handle the clearances for shooting in the Philippines means income for the Film Academy. But for unknown reasons the MOA is not yet enforced until now. Darth Vader suspects that there’s a scramble for positioning in the said project so the Director General is having a hard time in implementing the procedures.
“Yung car plates nila, sabit ano?” The commemorative car plates of the Film Academy was a noble project. It just so happened that the agent who coordinated with LTO was amiss in his responsibilities such that the said commemorative plates turned out to be illegal. “In other words, naloko sila ng agent, di ba? Eh yung ke Albert, wala na ba yung 250 K?” Albert Martinez was the producer of the FAP awards in 2004 and 2005 with a standing agreement that he will pay 500,000 pesos to FAP as royalty. But Albert was only able to remit half of the agreed amount in 2004, likewise in 2005 for reasons of bankruptcy. The last Luna Awards was produced by Eight Elephants Productions of Romnick Sarmenta and Harlene Bautista.
“Ha?” Darth Vader appears stumped when asked if there’s a possibility of him making a comeback in the FAP board. “Ayoko munang isipin …” His face turns somber. He was sort of traumatized by the intrigues inside his guild, the reason for his quitting. What added to his trauma was his impression that some FAP officers sided with his opponents.
Darth Vader was a dynamic guild president with numerous projects to his credit. But overwhelmed by the intrigues thrown at him from an opposing camp, he made a graceful exit by not running in the last election of his guild, virtually surrendering the throne to his detractors. The most painful for him was the accusation that he had pocketed almost half a million pesos. As a vindication for Darth Vader, the present leadership of his guild has nothing to show except for one so-so seminar in a period of 2 years. Perhaps the present leadership now realizes that there’s no money in the guild and that the embezzled half million they were accusing Darth Vader of was sheer fantasy.
“Puro laos na ang nasa guild. Yung mga sikat ayaw mag-member. Dapat tingnan nila ang anggulo na yan.” Darth Vader was about to institute some radical changes in his guild by inviting all the known personalities in his sector. But the plan was aborted by his untimely exit. “Hindi na makukuha ang unity sa movie industry habang ang mga officers ng mga guilds eh makasarili.” Darth Vader hurls a challenge for all the guilds to issue a list of active members because, according to Darth Vader’s words, the roster of membership is full of fictitious names.
“Kung gusto mo, sabihin mo kay Leo na handa akong tumulong sa paghanap ng budget. Marami kaming puwedeng lapitan pero right timing lang saka proper approach. Ang isang problema kay Leo, may dugong ranchero yan.” Darth Vader need not elaborate that Leo’s Batangueño attitude sometimes gets in the way. “Kita mo, kung kinausap lang niya sana ng maayos si Vic Del Rosario eh baka nagawaan ng paraan na maibalik ang dating budget ng FAP. Kaso pinagbabaril niya si Vic pati si Edu binanatan niya. Anyway, puwede pa naman, di ba?” Edu Manzano was actually caught in the crossfire. Part of FAP’s slashed budget went to Edu’s OMB (Optical Media Board).
Darth Vader closes the interview with an appeal to the president of the Philippines to enforce the original charter of the Film Academy. If the present setup would persist then the Film Academy really deserves the small budget.
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