Direk Brillante Mendoza decries Davao City blast
THE BOMBING in Davao City is unacceptable,” said award-winning filmmaker Brillante Ma. Mendoza.
The huge explosion that rocked the bustling night market in Davao City on Friday night killed 14 people and injured scores of others.
“Any violent act toward fellow Filipinos is not acceptable to me. In the past, we were guilty of neglect. It’s about time that we give importance and pay attention to Mindanao,” the director told the INQUIRER.
Mendoza’s critically acclaimed 2012 film, Thy Womb, shows the unique culture and tradition of Tawi-tawi, the province closest to war-torn Sulu in Mindanao, while his Captive (2012) focuses on the hostage crisis in southern Philippines.
The director said he made such films to “enlighten the audience” about what is going on in Mindanao. “I organized premiere screenings there several times, especially in Davao. This was even before I began doing advocacy work for this administration,” he pointed out.
Davao is the home province of President Duterte, who commissioned Mendoza to direct his first State of the Nation Address in July.
Mendoza was also an “adopted son” of Tawi-tawi “because of the work that I do for the province.” Prior to his experience working on Thy Womb in the province, the director said “it was the last place in the Philippines that I’d want to go to because of what I read in the media.”
He added: “We have yet to experience what life is really like there. A couple of days there, I thought, ‘How come I didn’t know that such a beautiful place and culture existed? Yes, there’s insurgency in Mindanao, but not everyone there is trying to kill each other. Tawitawi is peaceful, especially Bongao (its capital), where we shot most of the scenes in the film.”
Mendoza said Catholics and Muslims coexist harmoniously in Bongao. “You’ll see this even at the airport, where there’s a prayer room for Muslims, right beside a huge image of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he recalled.
“Let’s not associate violence with our Muslim brothers. Like us, they’re also Filipinos. We first have to understand what happened there before we start spreading the hate,” said the director, adding that he’s currently involved in several film projects that will highlight Mindanao culture and tradition.