Gov't agency calls out TV network: 'Bagani' show misleads Filipinos

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

The cast of ABS-CBN's newest TV series "Bagani"

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) — The government agency that is tasked to protect indigenous peoples has called out a TV network for its misleading use of the cultural term "Bagani" for its show.

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) said ABS-CBN's newest fantaserye "Bagani" is without historical and cultural significance.

"The Bagani is real, not a fictional and not even a mythological group of warriors which the ABS-CBN TV series would like to portray," the NCIP said in a statement on Monday.

It added, "The TV fantasy show distorts, misleads, and confuses rather than educates the Filipino TV viewers on the indigenous concept."

Headwriter of ABS-CBN Star Creatives Mark Angos earlier called the show a "fantasy universe inspired by Philippine mythology."

NCIP said the term "Bagani" refers to the peace-keeping force of the Manobo Indigenous Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao. It added the Bagani  defends and protects lives, properties, and territory.

"It is a sensitive position and class not lightly ascribed to just any person and never to those outside the ICCs/IPs," NCIP said.

The NCIP, which is under the Office of the President, is the primary government agency that formulates and implements policies and programs for the protection of the rights of IPs.

It called on the TV network to correct the confusion its show has created.

"We call on ABS-CBN to IMMEDIATELY RECTIFY the injustice committed in using the word 'Bagani' and to prevent misleading or confusing the general public by giving false information about the concept," it said.

A Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner also said the use of the description of "Bagani" as "a bayani with magical powers" will have a negative impact on young students.

"I cannot tolerate the public showing of the said teleserye as long as ABS-CBN would not revise the format and concept in order to render 'Bagani' to become as educational, historically-accurate, and culturally-correct as it can be," Commissioner Ronald Adamat said in a letter addressed to to ABS-CBN President Carlo Katigbak.

Prior to this, several netizens called out the casting choices for the show. The show stars Filipino-American actress Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil.


Actess Chai Fonacier criticized the use of fair-skinned actors and covering them in bronzer make-up to give the illusion of brown skin.

"Don't brown face to serve majority of a population that are naturally brown skinned," she said in a tweet on February 10.



The backlash prompted Soberano to say her father is a pure Filipino and she was raised by Two Filipinos. She added her love for sinigang is proof that she is "as pinoy as pinoy can get." The tweet was deleted after it caused more reactions.

ABS-CBN clarifies

ABS-CBN, in a statement issued on Monday, said the the fantasy-teleserye 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," it said.

It added the show's production team did an "intensive research" to find a distinctly Filipino term that will embody a person who fights for the common good.

The TV network said the show hopes to spread values, morals, and ethics inherent in a "Bagani"— a Filipino warrior, protector, and hero.

"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," it said. 


Despite the several criticisms against the show, it premiered on Monday.