Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao will star as the late army colonel and guerilla hero Macario Peralta Jr. in “Freedom Fighters”, a global feature film about the true courage and bravery of the Americans during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines that will be shot in part in Palawan.
Francis Lara Ho, chief executive officer of Inspire Studios, Inc. that will produce the World War II movie with a major Hollywood film company, confirmed this with Palawan News but said no shooting dates have been identified yet since coordination with the city government and other concerned local offices are still being done.
Filming sites cannot also be disclosed as of the moment due to ongoing coordinating activities.
“We’re still negotiating with the city government some facilities like roads, water, and electricity on our possible filming spots,” he said.
Freedom Fighters will mark Pacquiao’s return to acting after playing as himself in the movie-documentary film “Manny” in 2015.
Pacquiao will be among the major stars of the movie about the Americans who refused to leave their mission and eventually offered their lives when they were caught by the Japanese soldiers in Hopevale, Aglinab, Tapaz, Capiz.
“This is not a Filipino movie. This a global movie for worldwide release and global audiences. Although one of the lead characters is a Filipino,” Ho said.
Ho said Pacquiao was chosen to portray Col. Peralta’s life during WWII because he is a colonel in the reserve force of the Philippine Army and “one of the most honorable, honest, and God-fearing senators in the Philippines”.
“Sen. Pacquiao despite his political affiliations is the most loved senator in the Philippines not only because of his above reproach credibility and impeccable reputation but also because of his unparalleled philanthropy, building homes, schools, and a hospital for the neediest in our country,” Ho said.
Ho added Pacquiao is one of the most-loved boxers and athletes not only in the Philippines but around the world. He “is unifying in the religious landscape of the Philippines, both the Catholic and Protestants alike”.
“Thus, based on the above grounds, the executive team of Freedom Fighters believes Sen. Pacquiao is the best person to portray the supporting role of Peralta in our movie,” he said.
Freedom Fighters, he explained, is based on the book “Guerrilla Wife” written by Louise Reid Spencer, who lived in Tapaz town, Capiz and whose husband served under Peralta.
It will also be told based on interviews with Gen. Resty Aguilar, chief of the Veterans Affairs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Ilonggo historians like ex-board member Demy Sonza and Atty. Jeremy Bionat.
“Freedom Fighters is inspiring because it is a story of how ordinary people live extraordinary lives once they choose courage over fear, faith over doubt and hope over despair. It will show the powerful brotherhood and unparalleled bravery of Americans and Filipinos during World War II that led to the defeat of the Japanese,” Ho said.
Pacquiao will portray Peralta, who joined the Philippine Army in 1936 as a reserve officer before he was commissioned in the regular force as a lieutenant during WWII.
According to available information from the Department of National Defense, when troops belonging to the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) surrendered to the Japanese, Peralta organized guerilla groups in Panay, Romblon, Marinduque, Masbate, Mindoro, and Palawan to fight.
In this resistance campaign against the Japanese, Peralta displayed his exemplary leadership, competence, and gallantry in action. For this, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Star. The United States government conferred on him the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star.
“For Filipinos in the motherland and around the world to rally behind the project for our vision is for Freedom Fighters to put the Philippines on World Stage and win the first Oscars for the Philippines as this is history-in-the-making 1st ever Hollywood-Philippines produced global release movie and BIGGEST budget film ever produced by a Filipino filmmaker worth U$32M,” Ho said.