AFTER GIVING the Film Development Council Chairman and President Mary Liza B. Diño the boot, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) announced on Wednesday that it had added new members to its Executive Committee (Execom) — Director and Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc. President Laurice Guillen and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) President and Chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso.

The new members were chosen for their “integrity and wisdom,” according to Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Danilo D. Lim, in a statement posted by MMFF spokesperson Noel Ferrer on his Instagram page.

“Their track record speaks for themselves,” Mr. Lim was quoted as saying. Mr. Lim is also the concurrent chairman of the MMFF.

The Execom is the overseer and implementer of the film festival and includes the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority), film directors, the FDCP, and other industry stakeholders.

The appointments of the two new Execom members come days after Mr. Lim removed Ms. Diño from the Execom for allegedly trying to take the MMFF away from the MMDA and into the hands of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

Ms. Diño has denied the allegations.

Having Ms. Guillen and Mr. Lizaso on the Execom, Mr. Lim said, is meant to “set the ground for a more constructive and productive work for the MMFF Execom and assure the public that it has reached out to all the sectors to serve the best interest of the film industry.”

Ms. Guillen, aside from being an award-winning director and actress, was the first chairman of the FDCP and is president of arguably the largest independent film festival in the country, the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. Mr. Lizaso is an actor, director, and producer with more than 60 years of experience in theater, television, and film, aside from being the president of the CCP and the chairman of NCCA.

“The appointment of Director Guillen in the MMFF execom will start a more fruitful collaboration between MMFF and Cinemalaya,” Mr. Lim said.

The MMFF, the country’s largest film festival, is organized by the MMDA and runs from Dec. 25 until the first week of January. During this period, only Filipino films are screened in theaters nationwide. Recent grosses of the festival have amounted to P1 billion. — Zsarlene B. Chua