Don't use Philippine heroes to sell liquor: Culture agency

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines' national cultural commission is objecting to a liquor company's plans to use the names of national heroes and landmarks as labels for a new line of spirits.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts, in a statement on its website, objected to plans of Destileria Limtuaco to use the names of "historic persons, national heroes and heritage sites," for its alcoholic beverages.

"Their misappropriation for commercial enterprises or products not only distracts from the achievements of these persons or importance of these sites but sends the message that their names can be desacralised, privately owned and used to enrich private interests," the commission said.

Despite their concern the agency may have limited options. Commission spokesman Rene Napenas told AFP he was unsure if they had the power to stop a company from using historic titles.

The Inquirer newspaper, quoting council officials, said the names the compnay wanted to use included national hero Jose Rizal and revolutionary hero, Andres Bonifacio.

Rizal wrote novels that spurred the Philippine independence movement while Bonifacio started an armed rebellion that saw the archipelago declare independence from Spain.

The commission said the distillery, which produces a wide range of products including brandy, gin, rum and vodka, had already been granted permission from licensors to use the name "Intramuros" for one of its products.

"Intramuros" refers to the historic, original walled city of Manila which was the seat of government during the Spanish colonial period from the 1600s to the 1800s. It remains an important landmark and tourist attraction with many historical churches and buildings.

Officials at Destileria Limtuaco, which bills itself as the "oldest distillery in the Philippines. Established in 1852," could not be contacted for comment.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.