After garnering much controversy over its premise involving Philippine rebels, the US film Plane has been "voluntarily" pulled out by its distributor Lionsgate.
Speaking with reporters, Lala Sotto-Antonio, chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), made it clear that the action-thriller film starring Gerard Butler will no longer be "exhibited" in local theaters in the country.
"The particular film is not going to be exhibited because the distributor voluntarily pulled out the material already from the cinemas," she said.
Plane centers on an international flight that crash lands in the jungles of Jolo, Sulu, comopelling its crew and passengers to strive to survive the hostile territory that they have found themselves in.
The film has been hounded with issues in the last few days after Sen. Robin Padilla questioned the story for depicting the island of Jolo, Sulu being invaded by the militia, and that Philippine authorities were acting cowardly toward the rebels.
"Hindi po natin ito dapat tanggapin. Sana po, nakiki-usap po tayo sa ating MTRCB, na sana po sa mga ganitong ganap, kumakatok po tayo sa opisina nila. Hindi po dapat ito pinapalabas sa Pilipinas. Dito po dapat sa ating bansa, ipinagbabawal ito at kino-condemn po natin ito," Padilla said.
While MTRCB promised that they will be reevaluating the film, the Directors' Guild of the Philippines, Inc. argued that Plane should freely be screened in theaters. They reasoned that the decision to ban the flick must come from the public, "rather than imposed by politicians."
"If the state can tolerate free expression for trolls, fake news, and historical revisionism without worrying about their effect on the country's prestige, then the state can do the same for a work that members of the foreign press have regarded as mindless B-movie entertainment rather than a reliable commentary on our country's affairs," the group said.
They have yet to issue another statement regarding the voluntary withdrawal of the film by its distributor.
Plane was filmed in Puerto Rico and was released in US theaters on January 13.