Arayat officials demand apology from ‘Ang Probinsyano’

Mt. Arayat in Pampanga province —E.I REYMOND T. OREJAS/CONTRIBUTOR

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — While some eagerly await each episode, officials of Arayat town here in Pampanga province aren’t big fans of “Ang Probinsyano.”

The reason: The TV series, topbilled by their provincemate Coco Martin, has supposedly cast the town by the serene Mt. Arayat in a bad light.

Resolution

Although the producers have removed any references to Mount Arayat, town officials on Friday forwarded a resolution to the Pampanga provincial board condemning the ABS-CBN network for depicting Arayat town “as a haven and breeding ground for terrorists and hoodlums.”

Their resolution airs a “call for a hearing and to make ABS-CBN apologize for the wrong impressions it created and to correct these [in the long-running telenovela],” said Arayat Mayor Emmanuel Alejandrino.

No intention

ABS-CBN said the series had no intention to portray the town “negatively.”

It said that a disclaimer was issued at the beginning of the show every night from Monday to Saturday, saying the characters, incidents and organizations depicted there were purely fictitious and bore no resemblance to actual people and events.

Latest plot dev’t

But Alejandrino argued that the show portrayed a “true place in a town and province.”

The latest plot development involves a faction of a rebel group conspiring with crooked government officials to sow fear by terrorism.

Alejandrino said the insurgency theme was a sensitive topic in Arayat, which used to be a bastion for socialist and communist movements from the pre-World War II years up to the 1990s.

Apology

ABS-CBN said the storyline involving the “Pulang Araw” rebels ended on July 18.

The program “made no reference to the people of Arayat as rebels, nor was there any scene that was shot in Arayat,” it said.

“We apologize if the story has offended and caused distress to the local government and the people of Arayat. We recognize the importance of ecotourism to Arayat and would not want to do anything to harm its image and reputation,” it added.

Key roles

Pampanga natives play key roles in the series: Martin as the crime-fighting SPO2 Ricardo Dalisay and former Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid as a rebel commander.

It is not known if they have made any stand regarding how their home province has been characterized in the show.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilor Ferdinand Kabigting, describes Arayat town as a “wholesome and peaceful community.”

Worry-free lives

It says the Arayat people enjoy “worry-free lives,” and have not been concerned about “terrorist attacks.”

Mount Arayat, the council says, is the town’s “crown jewel of ecotourism [so its] protection and promotion are Arayat’s No. 1 priorities.”

Online commentaries, however, rebuked the Arayat officials for “overreacting.”

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