BAGUIO

Sona film crew on official business, mayor clarifies

MAYOR Romeo Salda clarified on Sunday, July 12, that the production team led by director Joyce Bernal and actor Piolo Pascual was on official business, as they were tasked to shoot video for President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the National Address (Sona).

Salda, in a statement released on Sunday, said the team of Bernal shot for 15 minutes in Barangay Bahong, adding the shoot focused on the scenic landscape of the barangay. He said it was for official purposes and no fees were collected.

"Upon receiving telephone calls from Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Marie Rafael Banaag and Department of Tourism (DOT)-Cordillera Regional Director Jovi Ganongan giving their reassurances, we immediately sought advice from the Office of the Benguet Governor and DILG CAR Regional Director Marlo Iringan. Both offices gave the go-ahead for the Sona shoot," the chief of Benguet's capital town said on July 12.

Salda clarified there was no shooting or filming made in Mt. Yangbew.

After the filming, sanitation protocols were conducted, he said, adding the film crew did not interact with the locals.

"The production team underwent proper medical tests and did not experience symptoms related to Covod-19 and are adhering to the necessary precautions and complying with safety and health protocols of Baguio and Benguet," Salda said in a statement, citing Bernal's letter.

Bernal's letter stated that they are aware that the municipality is strictly taking precautionary measures as to the health crisis and there will be no filming that will be conducted in any public place nor the group will interact with the locals and only natural areas and locations will be covered.

Salda said their decision to allow the film crew to shoot and take pictures for the Sona was based on assurances given by Bernal.

Last week, the team was asked to leave in Sagada, Mt. Province, Banaue Ifugao despite having travel papers and authorization from MalacaƱang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a live press briefing last week said it respects the decision of the municipality of Sagada, Mountain Province to deny the request of a delegation from MalacaƱang Presidential Broadcast Staff including director Joyce Bernal, to shoot videos in the famous tourist spot amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Roque added the team secured health certificates and travel authority.


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