ABS-CBN has responded to the controversial letter made public by Commissioner Ronald Adamat of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
The letter, which he sent to ABS-CBN President Carlo Katigbak, was also released by Adamat via the latter's Facebook page.
The government official wrote that he is "deeply bothered about the portrayal of Bagani in a teleserye as being a 'bayani with magical powers' that is totally detached from what the term actually means to the Indigenous Peoples communities."
Adamat also wrote that he "cannot tolerate the public showing of the said teleserye" unless ABS-CBN makes Bagani "historically-accurate and culturally-correct presentation of what the real 'Bagani' is from an IP perspective."
In the press statement sent to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) this evening, ABS-CBN pointed out that Bagani does not claim to be a "historical account of Philippine history or culture."
Instead, this TV series offers an "alternative fictional universe with elements of Filipino mythology and folklore."
Here is the full statement (published as is):
"The concept of ABS-CBN’s new fantaserye “Bagani” is to feature warriors, protectors, and heroes who espouse Filipino values and beliefs.
"The production team did intensive research to determine a distinctly Filipino term that embodies a champion who fights for the common good of his tribe or family—somebody who is brave, honorable, self-sacrificing, and good-hearted. In the end, the team recognized that the term and concept of a “Bagani” best solidifies the traits that the program wants to highlight.
"With all due respect, the use of “Bagani” is not in any way intended to malign or to disrespect beliefs of the Indigenous Peoples’ communities, but instead hopes to propagate the values, morals, and ethics that are inherent in a ‘Bagani’--a Filipino warrior, protector, and hero.
"To be clear, the “Bagani” fantaserye does not purport itself to be a historical account of Philippine history or culture. The program has always maintained that it has created an alternative fictional universe with elements of Filipino mythology and folklore that simply serves as an avenue to creatively deliver and highlight Filipino values, beliefs, and heroism."