After being in hot water for issues such as whitewashing and colonial mentality (Remember Liza Soberano’s sinigang tweet?), ABS-CBN’s much-talked about teleserye, Bagani, finally premiered Monday night, March 5.
Although a number of netizens called out the network for the alleged misrepresentation weeks ago, a formal complaint wasn’t filed until this month.
Prior the show’s pilot, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner Ronald Adamat, sent a letter to ABS-CBN, requesting for “immediate clarification and explanation” on its use of the word “Bagani” in a TV show.
“It is noteworthy to state that BAGANI is an IP (Indigenous Peoples) term and should not be used in a teleserye that is devoid of its true meaning and substance,” the commissioner said. “We cannot allow culturally insensitive movies and television series.”
Consequently, the National Commission On Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) also demanded for the network to “immediately rectify the injustice committed in using the word ‘Bagani’ and to prevent misleading or confusing the general public by giving false information about the concept.”
And just last night, the network finally released a statement regarding the complaints and requests.
“With all due respect, the use of ‘Bagani’ is not in any way intended to malign or to disrespect beliefs of the Indigenous Peoples’ communities.”
However, netizens still believe that the use of the term “Bagani” is still inappropriate, and in fact, misleads its viewers.
Some sided with the network, even saying CHED and NCIP should focus on more relevant issues.