By Roy Mabasa
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday suggested a “universal” boycott of all movies being produced by American film giant DreamWorks following the controversy created by the movie “Abominable,” a full-length animation that featured China’s controversial “nine-dash-line” map in the South China Sea.
In a series of tweets, Locsin admitted that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) does not have the power to ban the movie but toyed with the idea of cutting out what he described as an “offending scene” in the cartoon movie even before it can be shown to the Filipino public.
“@Dreamworks let itself to be used for propaganda. MTRCB (Movie, Television and Radio Classification Board) might have the power to ban, DFA does not. The public has the power and patriotic duty not to patronize a movie with a message contradicting our territorial claim. Do not watch any @Dreamworks production from hereon,” Locsin said in one of his social media posts.
“Abominable” was jointly produced by Shanghai-based Pearl Studio and DreamWorks Animation.
Locsin’s reaction came days after Vietnam revoked DreamWorks’ license to exhibit the “Abominable” movie in Vietnamese cinemas in protest of the showing of the U-shaped Chinese map.
A lawyer himself, Locsin is skeptical on what ground can the movie be banned from being shown in the Philippines and which agency has that power to block its screening.
“I am not sending any f_____g message. A general boycott isn’t my duty but I suggested it. All @DreamWorks productions, no re-runs-If that’s not unconstitutional denial of Filipinos’ right to see what they want; not what some f—–g natives think they should or should not,” he said in a separate tweet.
The nine-dash-line is a U-shaped line used on Chinese maps to illustrate its claims over vast expanses of the South China Sea that encompasses even the continental shelf of Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.
On July 12, 2016, however, the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of a petition filed by the Philippines invalidating Beijing’s nine-dash-line claim.