When the joke’s on us

Sun.Star Baguio - - OPINION -

WITH ad­mirable courage and hu­mil­ity, come­di­enne Candy Pangili­nan came one Mon­day af­ter­noon in June, 2009 to seek for­give­ness be­fore the city coun­cil. Moved by the pu­rity of her in­ten­tion, the mem­bers of the lo­cal leg­is­la­ture in­di­vid­u­ally ac­cepted the apol­ogy and went on to col­lec­tively re­scind a res­o­lu­tion that had de­clared her a per­sona non grata.

Com­ing to ses­sion ready, coun­cilor Richard Carino re­vealed that, over the years, the city coun­cil had be­stowed the “un­ac­cept­able per­son” tag and sta­tus to five peo­ple.

Only Candy, he noted, came and pleaded for­give­ness for a faux pax that, the come­di­enne stressed, was never in­tended to hurt.

In an at­tempt to draw laugh­ter dur­ing a show at SMBaguio, Candy ut­tered “Tao po ako, hindi Igorot”. Im­me­di­ately and days af­ter, she drew con­dem­na­tion from all over for that care­less re­mark. Her man­ager qual­i­fied the cor­rect line was sup­posed to have been “Tao ako, hindi Igorot statue”.

Candy’s im­pro­pri­ety was the lat­est in a se­ries of slurs that, sooner or later, will be ut­tered again - out of sheer ig­no­rance about who we are. Not by her, for she learned her les­son, but by oth­ers who still be­lieve Igorots are ig­no­rant, have tails and whose an­ces­tors lived on tree tops.

Coun­cilor Nick Alip­ing sug­gested a “daw-es”, a tra­di­tional Igorot cleans­ing rit­ual to ex­or­cise bad spir­its that might have trig­gered the re­mark that hurt, and to strengthen the peace, friend­ship and har­mony trig­gered by Candy’s atone­ment, her ap­peal for un­der­stand­ing and her wish to un­der­stand.

Alip­ing, one of six coun­cilors who iden­ti­fied them­selves to candy as Igorots, was into a rib­bing, es­ti­mat­ing the rit­ual might re­quire at least a pair of cows or carabaos, plus 128 sacri­fi­cial pigs to each of the city’s 128 barangays.

He sug­gested Rep. Mauri­cio Do­mo­gan may con­sider spon­sor­ing the an­i­mal sac­ri­fice.The huge crowd gath­ered at the ses­sion hall were fig­ur­ing out the costs when Alip­ing ad­vised Candy to con­sult a “mam­bunong”, a na­tive priest who might deem even only a chicken would do.

To brush off mis­con­cep­tions about mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion, Do­mo­gan said he was not “lawyer­ing”: for Candy. When he heard the slur, the solon im­me­di­ately de­manded pub­lic apol­ogy. Candy later called in his of­fice to say she would pub­licly apol­o­gize. .

Hear­ing her apol­o­gize, lawyer Ge­orge Du­maw­ing, a na­tive of Kalinga and past pres­i­dent of the Baguio-Benguet In­te­grated Bar of the Philip­pines , as­sured he would with­draw a suit his fel­low lawyers asked him to file on their be­half against the come­di­enne.

On Candy’s wish to do more than apol­o­gize for her er­ror, Du­maw­ing ad­vised her to tell her col­leagues in show­biz to stop de­pict­ing Igorots in a bad light in their films, tele­vi­sion shows, per­for­mances and ut­ter­ances.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.