A letter written by Gerald Misa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
917 Palawan St., Sampaloc, Man
Ethnic slur against the 'Bisaya'
The ethnic slur against Cebuano-speaking Filipinos, (commonly referred to as "Bisaya") in the Filipino movie "Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo" does not come as a surprise. (Inquirer, 12/28/07)
The Tagalogs have long taunted, mocked and shown prejudice against the peoples of Mindanao and Cebuano dialect-speaking provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros Oriental, Siquijor and Southern Leyte.
And Sen. Aquilino Pimentel should not have complained that the slur hinted that only the Tagalogs are the real Filipinos. Indeed, the real Filipinos are only those who speak or write the Tagalog language -- those in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and other Tagalog-speaking areas.
Having been born in Marawi City and raised up, studied and finished my education in Cebuano-speaking, predominantly Christian Iligan City, I have never considered myself -- since childhood -- a "Filipino."
I am known as a "Filipino" because of an imposed citizenship, but by heart and by choice I am a proud Mindanaoan who longs to have a separate republic for my fellow Cebuano or Bisaya-speaking Mindanaoans, who would be better off governing themselves than be subjects of the imperialist North.
Why join the Tagalogs in proudly proclaiming themselves Filipinos when they do not even consider us, "mga Bisaya" their equals and fellow Filipinos? A Tagalog mocking a Bisaya's flawed Tagalog does not shock me. He hurts and offends me. Hearing or seeing a Caucasian discriminate against a Filipino - meaning, a Tagalog -- does not affect me. But when a foreigner heaps racial slurs on a fellow Cebuano-speaking Boholano or Davaoeño, I am deeply saddened and offended.
Every day, bigotry is committed against a Bisaya -- on TV shows, on radio programs, on the streets and inside buses, trains, passenger jeepneys, malls, department stores, even churches.
Everywhere. It pains me to hear the deejay of an early morning FM radio program having fun emulating the way a Bisaya speaks Tagalog with a distinctly heavy or regional accent. When a Bisaya mispronounces a Tagalog word or two, a Tagalog bursts into laughter.
Tagalogs joined those who demanded an apology from a Canadian school where a Caucasian teacher called a child of a Philippine immigrant couple a "pig" for eating with a spoon. The child's mother came from Misamis Oriental, a Cebuano-speaking province. Why did the Tagalogs feign sympathy for the family with a Bisaya blood? It was a classic display of Filipino hypocrisy, the same "plasticity" Tagalogs show every time Manny Pacquiao beats his opponents. They "rejoice" although they laugh at him because of his Bisaya accent.