After earning the controversial X rating from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), Perry Escaño’s ‘Ang Guro Kong Di Marunong Magbasa’ received a PG rating after appealing for a second review. This was gladly announced by director Perry Escaño during the movie’s press conference. The film will be released commercially on December 6, 2017.
Hundreds of child soldiers have been released recently by the country’s main rebel separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as part of its commitment to the United Nations to end the recruitment and use of children within their ranks.
This, however, did not happen overnight. The negotiations, according to reports, lasted for eight long years.
What happened throughout those years had given filmmaker Perry Escaño enough materials to write and create his debut full-length feature ‘Ang Guro Kong ‘Di Marunong Magbasa,’ which, on MTRCB’s first review got an X-Rated rating or classification, apparently due to “significantly violent scenes”.
“Twenty to 30 percent of rebels in any particular group are children. They are trained to use guns and are put at the frontline of battles,” said Escano, who is also a stage and TV actor. “There are many related issues concerning child warriors, but this film is related to the value of education.
“This film tells us that these children should be carrying books, not guns. If they could afford education, then we would see them in schools, and not in the battle field,” Escaño pointed out.
Quezon City Representative and Kapuso actor Alfred Vargas plays the lead role, Aaquil, a farmer who struggled to teach the children in his town to read and write, in spite of being illiterate himself.
“Guro” is Vargas’ first film in four years. “I’ve decided to concentrate on public service, but when I read the script, I couldn’t resist it. I immediately agreed to doing it because it’s actually hitting two birds with one stone — I can act and at the same time advocate education,” the actor said.
Also part of the main cast are three awarded child actors, Miggs Cuaderno, Marc Justine Alvarez, and Micko Laurente, who all had to train on how to properly handle fire arms before shooting the movie.
“I have always been afraid of guns,” said Alvarez. “I would close my eyes shut before pulling the trigger. Direk didn’t want that After the training, I’m glad was able to overcome my fear of handling guns.”
“I felt nervous in the beginning, but my mom said I was so cool, because not all boys my age would get the chance to fire guns. I actually enjoyed it since then,” added Cuaderno.
Laurente recalled: “I remember the time when Direk asked me to fire a pistol. I though I would not be able to handle the recoil, but I did. Also, we have scenes there that show us as rebels in training. We had to crawl on mud. My whole body hurt the day after, but it was fine.”
A finalist of the 2017 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival (held last August), “Ang Guro Kong ‘Di Marunong Magbasa” also features Mon Confiado, Lou Veloso, James Blanco, Kika Matos, Loren Burgos, Garie Concepcion, Alvin Barcelona, Paul Sy, Lianne Valentin, Lorraine Salvador, among others