Piolo Pascual, Joyce Bernal denied access to shoot for SONA in Sagada, Banaue
Top actor Piolo Pascual and director Joyce Bernal, together with a small production team, were refused entrance to the municipalities of Sagada and Banaue. They were supposed tonshoot background views for the upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 27.
In a Facebook post by the Sagada Municipality, they explained that it was already on July 5 when they received information that the team was already on its way to Sagada. The Municipal Disaster Risk and Management Officer (MDRRMO) immediately recommended an emergency meeting to refer the matter to the Local Covid-19 Task Force.
In the said meeting, the task force asked if there was any written communication regarding the video shoot. What turned up was an email sent by Bernal’s team after office hours on July 3, to inform the Mayor they would arrive nightime of July 5. Moreover, the email came with an authorization letter signed by Dennis Wilfred Pabalan — Malacañang Presidential Broadcast Staff-Radio Television Malacañang Executive Director — endorsing the shoot.
The post continued that while the meeting was ongoing, Bernal’s advance party had already been escorted by the police to Sagada Cellar Door where they would have to stay, after the Sagada Heritage Village management turned them down following local guidelines that all tourism establishments remain closed to due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Andrew Chinalpan, Sagada Cellar Door manager and Bernal were called to attend the meeting where the Local Task Force explained their sentiments and stand on the proposed shoot.
The Sagada Municipality further shared on Facebook the letter addressed to Bernal’s team citing the municipality’s strict quarantine ordinance as their main reason in refusing the shoot.
“Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 110 Series of 2020, a Revised Resolution Governing Tourism, Commerce, and Industry in the Municipality of Sagada during its period of the Covid-19 pandemic states, among others that: a. Closure and/or Suspension of Tourism such as booking of guests by establishments, all tourist sites and other concerns related to tourism; and b. Entry of non-residents coming from red areas is not allowed,” indicated the letter signed by Felicito Dula, Municipal Vice Mayor and Officer-in-Charge for Sagada Covid-19 Task Force.
“The strict implementation on the entry of all persons coming outside Mountain Province to Sagada has been effective in maintaining the municipality as a Covid-free community; Sagada being a 5th Class Municipality is not ready, specifically our health facilities, to accommodate the presence of a Covid-19 positive case in the locality,” the letter added.
The FB post also related that Bernal clearly understood the task force’s decision and was very apologetic. She only appealed they be given the night to rest at Cellar Door. The director’s plea was granted.
In Banaue too
Following their rejection at Sagada, Pascual and Bernal’s team headed straight to Banaue, Ifugao early Monday morning intending to shoot in Batad. All the same they were refused entry by the local government.
Several reports noted that the team was escorted by local police outside the town’s welcome arch.
Banaue Ifugao’s official Facebook page previously posted an executive order prohibiting travel from the Municipality of Banaue, Ifugao for a period of seven days (July 3 to July 10).
Pascual and Bernal’s team ended up driving back to Baguio where they made a stop at Baguio Teacher’s Camp, which is currently being used as a triage unit for arriving OFWs before staying in Camp John Hay Manor Hotel.
Pascual and Bernal — who established the independent film production company Spring Films together — have yet to release a statement from their side.
Bernal has been directing the President’s SONA since 2018.