Rocco on the campaign trail
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - March 9, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Ko, GMA News TV’s first original series, may be small as compared with A Dangerous Life in terms of production budget. And like the HBO-distributed tele-movie, its reflection of local political landscape is larger and its impact influential in educating those who will cast their votes for the first time. The mini-series’ relevance to the times is what excites the Bayan Ko creative people, especially Rocco Nacino whose character Mayor Joseph Santiago is in the middle of the action.

The Adolfo Alix Jr.-directed series will premiere on March 10 at 6:30 p.m.       

“It’s mature,” shares Rocco about his role. “It’s way out of my comfort zone. That’s why I’ve made a big adjustment. I’ve adjusted in terms of how I look, how I speak, how I think and how I look at situations. My character is always dealing with problems. (His life) is very stressful. He represents change; he is a role model to people. If you can make the word ‘change’ to a person, it will be Mayor Joseph Santiago. His goal is to see changes (developments) in his town. These are changes where everybody will benefit from.”

Mayor Santiago’s rise to political-dom is set in the fictional town of Lagros. The young politician will change the status quo of having municipal people getting involved in small-time and big-time corruption. His beliefs will be challenged. The six-episode Bayan Ko is color-graded and shot in high definition. It will carry the visual texture of a movie.

“I went to a city hall,” recalls Rocco. “I did a two-and-a-half-hour talk with a city administrator.” It has given him ideas on the roles a mayor plays and issues he deals with inside and outside his office.

Asked about his idea of an ideal mayor, Rocco replies, “Someone who is honest in his work and to the people he serves; he is against corruption. These are the same characteristics which will be shown all throughout this project. As for my character, he is confronted by temptations. If he only gets into this, (his work) will be easier.” Mayor Santiago will definitely have his own share of sacrifices in the name of good governance. Kapuso televiewers can look forward to the helicopter scene and the Lagros waterworld sequence.

Since the 2013 elections have just commenced with political campaigns lording over the broadcast space, Bayan Ko encourages everyone to vote wisely and responsibly.       

“Through this project, we are giving people hope that there are people we can vote for. (Bayan Ko) is apolitical. We are not endorsing candidates. Everything is fictional. I have high regard for the writers and those behind it. They’ve made it laced with lessons and light moments. That’s why we have Betong and Ate Love.”

Rocco was last seen as young dad in Yesterday’s Bride, a straight drama banking on the talents of him, Lovi Poe and Luis Alandy. Bayan Ko is another exciting acting assignment he can add to his “varied roles and projects.”    

“I’m not stuck on certain types of characters,” says Rocco. “I’m thankful for GMA, the way it has been taking care of me.” 

When he is off to a taping or shooting, Rocco says, “I tell myself what I would be today. I’ll no longer be Rocco. I’ll be this person... So, I won’t do things that will make me out of touch with my role.” If work is left and right, especially when call times for different shows are close, Rocco has to think positive to “put myself back together.”

Even if there are actors who have trodden the path to politics, Rocco would rather “stay here (in showbiz) and I’m contented with what I’m doing.”

With his celebrity status, Rocco can also serve his audience.


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