An award-winning film in the Philippines is on the receiving end of criticism after it was found to have killed not one but two dogs for a scene.
It was supposed to be a film festival that features some of the best locally-made films in the Philippines, then the public as well as animal rights groups witnessed a disturbing part.
Disturbing, Awarded Film
The film “Oro” centers on the lives of four individuals working in an artisanal gold mining community in the Philippines using crude and unsafe methods. The film depicts how their lives remain impoverished despite the lucrative commodity they mine—gold.
It took days after the film was shown in hundreds of cinemas all over the Philippines, before various animal rights group and netizens began questioning a scene where a dog was killed and gutted for a group of men to eat.
Any form of animal cruelty is prohibited under the Philippines’ Republic Act No. 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Erring parties found guilty may be sentenced to two years and one day to three years jail time. Individuals or group found guilty of making businesses out of animal cruelty may be fined not more than $5,000.
Animal Rights Group Reacts
The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) heavily criticized the film after it was found that two dogs were actually killed. In a statement, the group lamented that killing dogs for cinematic, or any purposes, is “ethically reprehensible.”
The group, citing investigation results conducted by the local movie review board, noted that the filmmakers lied about the dogs. It stated that filmmakers reportedly told the film festival’s screening committee that no dogs were hurt during filming.
“But during the inquiry yesterday, the filmmakers eventually admitted that the live dog shown at the start of the controversial scene and the dead dog being gutted is one and the same,” the statement reads.
Alvin Yapan, writer and director of “ORO,” in an official statement denied killing the dog while making the film. He vehemently belied allegations that they meant to cause controversy to generate attention. Yapan also denied reports that he instructed his actors to kill dogs.
Meanwhile, the Festival decided to stop screening the film until the production complies with its findings and recommendations. However, a Festival committee decided to withdraw a memorial award bestowed to the film. Irma Adlawan, the female protagonist, won best actress in the film festival.