Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chief Liza Diño has been removed as member of the executive committee of Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) by the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

This was after her supposedly “botched attempts” to take over the annual festival.

“Recent events and information coming to our office indicate that you have not given up on your dream to take over the chairmanship of MMFF and to take it away from MMDA,” MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said in a letter to Diño dated July 21.

Lim told Diño, daughter of Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño, that the committee had expected her to “resign out of delicadeza” after her supposed bid to take over the MMFF in 2016. 

Diño, according to Lim, had been accusing the MMFF of being involved in controversies when she, as an executive committee member, should have been defending it.

On July 20, MMDA spokeswoman Celine Pialago posted on social media FDCP’s position paper arguing why the annual festival’s management should be transferred to the film development body. 

FDCP argued that the mandate of the MMDA does not include any reference to films and filmmaking.

In response to Lim’s letter, FDCP said in a July 24 statement that it had reached out to the MMDA for clarification.

It noted that during MMFF meetings attended by the FDCP, the MMDA did not raise any of the issues mentioned in Lim’s letter.

“FDCP will be releasing a more detailed statement after meeting with MMDA,” the agency said.

Diño earlier drew flak for her order requiring all film and production outfits to register with her agency before doing fieldwork, supposedly as a precaution against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Philippine PEN writers’ group said Diño was out of bounds as her agency did not have regulatory powers. Jayziel Khim Budino

Preview image: FDCP Chair Liza Diño Facebook page