‘Liway’ screening stopped on eve of martial law anniversary

Men who identified themselves as members of a local police intelligence unit stopped a showing of the film Liway in Pasay City on the eve of the 50th anniversary of martial law being enacted.

Liway, directed by Kip Oebanda, is a 2018 martial law-period film about a boy who lives in a prison camp with his mother, a martial law dissident known as Commander Liway (Glaiza de Castro). It is based on the director’s real-life experience with his mother, Cecilia Flores-Oebanda.

Progressive youth coalition Kabataan Partylist had arranged the screening to take place at the covered court of Barangay 178 in Pasay City on September 20.

But in a video posted by AlterMidya, men in plainclothes can be seen arriving at the screening and identifing themselves as members of the “Pasay City Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Unit.” The men put an end to the screening and confiscated organizers’ materials, as well as copies of the alternative publication Pinoy Weekly.

Meanwhile, Liway filmmakers revealed on Facebook that they had received reports that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) had messaged schools organizing martial law film screenings that they needed to secure a permit to screen Liway.

But Liway filmmakers said they already had a permit to exhibit the film, issued by the MTRCB itself, that also certified the movie with a Parental Guidance (PG) rating.

“Here is the copy of our MTRCB permit to exhibit with PG rating. Feel free to use this when you communicate with them,” they wrote on social media.

The Pasay City Police have not yet released any statements confirming or denying their involvement in the movie screening being shut down. 

During the martial law era, films were strictly censored for political messages that authorities considered subversive. A film such as Liway would certainly have not been allowed to be publicly screened back then. 

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