'Ma' Rosa' is PH's entry to Oscars 2017

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(File photo) Brillante Mendoza hugs Jaclyn Jose after she won the Best Actress award at the 69th Cannes Film Festival on May 22.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Director Brillante Mendoza’s Ma' Rosa has been chosen as the Philippines' entry to the 89th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category, the award-winning director confirmed to CNN Philippines on Wednesday.

"I am happy. I'm very excited. I didn't expect it," he said in a text message.

Ma' Rosa tells the story of Rosa Reyes (Jaclyn Jose), a woman who owns a convenience store in a poor neighborhood of Philippines' capital Manila, making ends meet with her husband Nestor (Julio Diaz) by selling drugs.

Jaclyn Jose bagged the Best Actress award at the 69th Cannes Film Festival last May.

Related: 'Ma' Rosa' cast, crew feted upon return from Cannes

Historical biopic Heneral Luna was the country’s entry last year.

Dekada '70, Ang Munting Tinig, Crying Ladies, Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros, and Transit were also some of the films submitted by the Philippines for the said category.

The final five nominees will be announced on January 24, 2017. The winner will be named at the Oscars ceremony on February 26, 2017.