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Solon slams ABS-CBN for ‘unrealistic, offensive’ portrayal of Butuan City

/ 03:40 PM January 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker on Thursday called out television network ABS-CBN for its “unrealistic” and “offensive” portrayal of Butuan City in one of its shows.

Agusan del Norte 1st District Representative Lawrence Fortun, who is among the lawmakers supporting the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, said the network portrayed the city in the show “A Soldier’s Heart” as “a hotbed of chaos.”

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One of the scenes in the show, which premiered on Monday, features a bombing incident in Butuan.

“As a Butuanon who was born and raised in a city that was and has never been known to be a hub of extremism and terrorism, I am dismayed by the portrayal of Butuan as a hotbed of chaos,” Fortun said in a statement.

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“The depiction is not only unrealistic, but it is also offensive because it is destroying the collective efforts of the people of Butuan to promote the Home of the Balangays as a tourist destination for history and culture and a hub of opportunities,” the lawmaker added.

Fortun then urged ABS-CBN to “immediately air an appropriate disclaimer” and “review and reconsider” the content and story elements of the show.

“Better still, as partial recompense for the damage this imprudence may have caused Butuan and its people, we implore upon them to do depict the real Butuan and feature stories about it in their news and public affairs programs,” Fortun said.

This was not the first time the network faced issues with its content.

In March 2018, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) asked the network to clarify its use of the term “Bagani” in a TV show of the same name.

CHED Commissioner Ronald Adamat said he was “deeply bothered about the portrayal of ‘Bagani’ in a teleserye as being a ‘bayani with magical powers.’”

For Fortun, this should have already been a “lesson” for ABS-CBN to be “more circumspect and sensitive.”

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“We encourage you to send your team over and our public information and tourism offices shall be most willing to show them around so they can see and experience for themselves the beauty of Butuan,” Fortun said.

“They might just love to keep coming back,” he added.

In a statement, ABS-CBN apologized to Fortun and the people of Butuan City.

“While the incident portrayed in the series was fictitious, there was mention of the city name,” ABS-CBN said.

The network added that there was “no deliberate intention” to portray Butuan City on a negative light.

“We acknowledge that Butuan is one of the most beautiful and peaceful cities in the country,” it added.

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TAGS: A Soldier's Heart, ABS-CBN
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