Illustration by KARLA MIDES C. TOLEDOA GOOD dramatic show blends all the technical elements of television in order to depict realistically and critically the human condition, its struggles, its highs, and lows. But more importantly, shows must also impart values to its viewers since media has power to influence its viewers.

With the violence popping up onscreen during primetime, is local TV simply giving the audience the adrenaline rush that keep their eyes glued on their screens, or are local TV stations merely taking advantage of the lax censorship by media regulating entities?

Guns and more guns

ABS-CBN’s new primetime show, Guns and Roses, follows the life of Reign Santana (Bea Alonzo), who lost her husband-to-be (Jake Cuenca) minutes before their wedding when he helped robbery victims right outside the church and got shot for it.

Years after the incident, Santana suddenly wakes up from her stupor when she is abducted by an anonymous kidnapper whom she eventually falls in love with. Upon her rescue, Stockholm Syndrome sets in when Santana is concerned about her abductor’s safety more than her own.

The sticky situation gets even more complicated when the kidnapping incident results in a bizarre love triangle between Santana, her unknown abductor, and Marcus Aguilar (Diether Ocampo), the police officer who saved her from the her kidnapper.

It is revealed that the identity of her abductor who poses as a car mechanic is actually a gun-for-hire tortured by his past.

The drama series may create confusion among its audiences because of Padilla’s “pseudo-comic” character. Combine this with the macho brand of acting that he is known for, it becomes difficult to take the drama series seriously, especially when the scenes involve how he never gets the woman of his dreams while other girls throw themselves at him for being manly and attractive.

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The plot alone—one that revolves around as assassin’s day-to-day escapades—is really not fit for primetime TV. With the story shifting from one killing spree to the next, how can such violence be appropriate content for a television timeslot that is considered as family bonding in most Filipino households?

What is more alarming is that media regulating bodies such as the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) finds nothing wrong with this appearing on primetime.

Heritage amid violence

Another series in local primetime that illustrates this premise is GMA’s “Amaya.” The first of its kind, “Amaya” has been dubbed an “epicserye” that was inspired by actual historical events, cultural customs, and various literature of pre-colonial Filipinos in Western Visayas.

The series revolves around the trials and triumphs of Amaya, a bai (princess) who is the fruit of a datu’s love affair with an uripon (slave).

When Amaya was born with a twin snake, it was clear that she was favored by the ancestors and was chosen to save the people from the abusive Rajah Mangubat (Gardo Versoza). Amaya grows into a beautiful young lady, but disaster strikes when her father, Datu Bugna (Raymond Bagatsing), is killed by the rajah after Bugna’s wife and dian (queen), Lamitan, betrays him out of bitterness. Amaya becomes a slave in the rajah’s puod (kingdom) and captures the heart of Rajah Mangubat’s heir, Bagani (Sid Lucero).

Bagani has always professed his love for Amaya, but hides his growing feelings for her as he is to be married to his half sister, Bai Marikit (Rochelle Pangilinan). But when Amaya finally reciprocates his love, Marikit connives with her mother, Lamitan, to bring down Amaya.

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Even if violence is present in the series, it is definitely not presented in a graphic manner. Also, the violence was only drawn from the fact that our ancestors resorted to various means of punishment when people would not abide by customs or the law.

Even real-life datus and rajahs such as Rajah Carlito Buntas of the Dibabawons tribe in Compostela Valley Province, Mindandao lauded the series for displaying the richness of Filipino culture.

The program deserves recognition for educating audiences through its vocabulary-building feature, where the definitions of certain words used in the script are displayed on the screen to guide viewers.

Although experts criticize the show showcasing inaccurate Philippine culture and history, creators stress on the program’s fictional nature and the writer’s use of artistic license.

The presence of programs such as “Guns and Roses” and “Amaya” in primetime may earn recognition for original content and novelty, but does this excuse onscreen violence at a time when children could be watching television with or without parental guidance? Alyosha J. Robillos

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