'Heneral Luna' on freedom, nationalism - and Duterte - CNN...

'Heneral Luna' on freedom, nationalism - and Duterte - CNN Philippines

Shared/Posted: Jun 13, 2016 at 10:10am

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The 49-year old stage, television and movie actor related that even as a child, he preferred speaking in Tagalog — even if his mother told him and his siblings to speak in English.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A sense of nationalism has been a part of actor John Arcilla — on and off screen.

Arcilla, who played Gen. Antonio Luna in the historical blockbuster movie Heneral Luna told CNN Philippines' Network News on Sunday that even as a child growing up, he had already shown signs of patriotism.

Related: 'Heneral Luna' hits P200-million mark

The 49-year-old stage, television and movie actor related that his grandparents were head teachers during the American era in the country so that his mother would enjoin her children to speak in English inside the house.

But the young Arcilla, even then, held his ground and told his mom that he didn't want to.

"Why do we need to speak in English, we're Filipinos," Arcilla, who is the youngest among the siblings, had said.

Related: 'Heneral Luna' is Philippines' entry to Oscars 2016's foreign film category

Portraying the feisty Gen. Luna, however, bolstered his sense of national pride.

"This film encouraged me to go back some more and review our history some more," Arcilla told news anchor Mitzi Borromeo.

Related: Aquino's last Independence Day speech: Be vigilant, protect democracy

The multi-awarded artist explained that for him, love for one's country should go beyond simply speaking the national language or choosing local products.

"You can speak in Tagalog, wear barong and yet nagnanakaw ka naman sa bayan (yet you steal from the country) mo. Is that nationalism?"

'I like Duterte but...'
Arcilla also said he was very excited about what the incoming President would do for the country.

"I like him because he's very different. He is conventional and unconventional at the same time."

However, he had some reservations about President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's consistency.

Arcilla pointed that out the during the campaign, Duterte had said he would favor no friends.

"Then suddenly after the elections, he will say 'Bongbong (Marcos) is a friend' and it's a political reality. It is incongruent with his first statement. It's traditional politics."

Real independence for "The General'
Arcilla said that for him, independence was something that the country had yet to fully achieve.

"If there is still a lot of poor people in the country... If corruption is still rampant in our government... I think we're not really, really independent or free yet."

He said he also wished that there would be unity among Filipinos — noting that the country was difficult to unite, with it being an archipelago and wherein "regionalism" remained prevalent.

He said that there would be no progress and whoever would sit as President wouldn't matter — as long as Filipinos were divided.

"Hindi tayo magiging totally malaya sa kahirapan, korapsyon."

[Translation: "(Unless we unite) we cannot be totally free from poverty, corruption."]

And the change should begin with each and everyone first — Arcilla emphasized.

Kindly refer to the origin of this news.

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