In a scathing attack in his Philippine Daily Inquirer column, Isagani Cruz virtually blamed the entertainment industry as the principal reason and root cause of the country’s deteriorating condition.

Film Academy of the Philippines Director General Leo G. Martinez, reacting to the column, is enjoining officers and members of the various guilds of the academy, as well as the general public, to write in their opinions about and reactions to Mr. Cruz’s column.

The pertinent paragraphs of the column, which appeared in the Inquirer’s June 17 issue, are hereby reprinted:

“AFTER much reflection, I have come to the worrisome conclusion about the principal reason for our deteriorating society. It will pour a vial of wrath upon my head, but I will identify it just the same. The root cause of our nation’s pathetic condition is the entertainment industry.

Not the New People’s Army and the other bandit groups, not the “trapos” [traditional politicians] for all their insatiable avarice, not the social climbers and their mindless extravagance, not the crooks in government and the private sector, not the sanctimonious evangelists and their regimented followers, not even the barefaced apologists in Malacañang for their irredeemable offenses.

Not they but the entertainers are the culprits most responsible for the stagnation of our economy, the deterioration of the nation’s morals, the escalation of criminality and violence, the misdirection of the youth, the alienation of the poor and underprivileged, and the decline of our esteem in the international community.”

Mr. Cruz further writes:

“Let us remember that the entertainment industry was the most submissive and noisiest barker of the Marcos dictatorship. Its principal figures competed with one another in shamelessly toadying to the rulers in Malacañang and their shameful sycophants. With only a few courageous exceptions, the entertainers obsequiously displayed their bootlicking for the despot, who rewarded them with generous favors, including monetary grants and appointments to high offices. Many of these beneficiaries are still active today in their adjustable career.

It is this industry that has remained, among the shady elements of our society, as the most pervasive and persuasive influence on the mostly unthinking masses who constitute the voting majority of our people. If many of our citizens have not been exercising their suffrages properly, it is because they have been misguided principally by the practitioners of the entertainment industry…

..The entertainment industry, which has the most available access to the people through the movies, television, radio and the tabloids, is instead purposely miseducating them.”

The column continues its bashing of the industry:

“The Philippine entertainment industry is not only a vast wasteland, as television has been described in America, but a vicious instrument for the abatement of the nation’s intelligence. The shows it offers for the supposed recreation of the people are generally vulgar and smutty, usually with some little moral lesson inserted to make them look respectable, but offensive nonetheless. On the whole, they are obnoxious and unwholesome and deserve to be trashed…

…The leaders of the entertainment industry are supposed to be responsible people but they have evaded their duty to elevate the taste of their mostly unthinking supporters. They have instead cheapened them into a mass of automated individuals whose ultimate joy is to roll up in the aisles at the lewd jokes of potential senators.”

In one fell swoop, Mr. Cruz dismisses the possibility that entertainment figures can also be responsible and capable public officials:

“Who are the voters who have elevated dubious entertainers, past and present, to high public positions? It is the idolaters of show-biz personalities who have proved that entertainers in general, with their limited talents and exaggerated ambitions, are better suited to the box office than to the public office they have polluted and debased.”

Those who wish to send in their rejoinders to this scathing column may do so either through e-mail, phone calls, fax or plain ordinary mail (or better yet submitting them to the FAP office at OctoArts building at 108 Panay avenue, Quezon City, just behind the National Book Store.

The FAP e-mail address is fap_web@yahoo.com. The fax number is 374-7561. Telephone numbers are 415-3547 and 415-3880 (local 802 and 807).