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Netizen blasts GMA News TV crew for allegedly being rude

Last November 19, a Facebook user posted a lengthy rant on what he views as a discourteous act perpetrated by the staff of a GMA News TV show against National Living Treasure awardee Apo Alonzo Saclag.

“This is a story about how ARROGANT the media can be,” begins Cris Guiral, who works for Davidson Adventours, a tour company based in Tabuk, Kalinga Apayao.

As posted by Cris Guiral on Facebook.
As posted by Cris Guiral on Facebook.

Guiral then proceeds to narrate how staff, supposedly from GMA News TV’s Lakwatsero show, arrived at Awichon Village without prior notice, barged into the houses uninvited, then proceeded to take pictures without asking permission first.

“…upon arrival their cameraman just took photos of the place, some of them went inside the houses with their shoes on, then suddenly one of the women with her hands on her waist asked Apo Saclag in a tone that is hurtful to the ear, “WHAT IS THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS PLACE? INTERVIEWHIN KA NAMIN TATANG” — ALL WITHOUT ASKING PERMISSION FIRST and NOT EVEN INTRODUCING THEMSELVES PROPERLY.” Guiral said. (Capitalization by Guiral)

Apo Alonzo Saclag, declared a National Living Treasure in 2000, is a master of Kalinga musical instruments and ritual dance.

National Living Treasure Awardee (Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan) Apo Alonzo Saclag. (Photo from the NCCA Facebook page.)
National Living Treasure Awardee (Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan) Apo Alonzo Saclag. (Photo from the NCCA Facebook page.)

When Guiral asked the Apo if he was fine with the intrusion, Saclag said, “naHB (high blood) ako. Ito yung sinasabi ko sa iyo na basta basta na lang pumapasok dito.” (My blood pressure shot up. This is what I’ve been saying, people just barge in here.)

“Imagine, someone just entered your property. Then went directly into your room and took pictures. Then they will ask you, WHY ARE YOU HERE? Is that even acceptable?” Guiral lamented. “At the end of the day, GANUN BA KABALASUBAS (sorry for the term but nothing fits better) ANG MEDIA?” (At the end of the day, are media men really that brazen?)

Incensed, Guiral enumerated the behaviors that ticked him off. “For one, they were not expected and just barged into the place. Two, as mediamen, it is imperative to introduce yourself first and made clear your intentions. Three, you just don’t ask someone nor enter their houses and property without acknowledged permission. Four, you are talking with an awarded cultural icon, a Pangat (local leader) and the owner of the place so you must pay proper respect.”

As of this writing, Guiral’s post has reached 1,200 shares on Facebook, capturing even the attention of GMA’s management. The network, via the GMA News official FB page, posted this reply, “Nakarating po sa amin ang post n’yo, G. Cris Guiral. Ipinaabot na rin namin ito sa GMA department nagha-handle ng mga blocktimer gaya ng “Lakwatsero.”” (Your post has reached us, Mr. Cris Guiral. We’ve also forwarded it to the GMA department that handles blocktimers like Lakwatsero.)

GMA News' reply to Cris Guiral's post.
GMA News’ reply to Cris Guiral’s post.

Carmelo Jose Gutierrez, a writer/producer who works for GMA, further explains that “…Blocktimers are programs that bought airtime from GMA and is not operated, produced and under GMAs control. However, it should abide by network policies including ethics and regulations of a media conglomerate. In this regard may we discuss and deal with this matter accordingly as this is handled by our Program Management department and Legal division, too.”

Family members of Apo Saclag have also sent in their statements regarding the incident. Benson Saclag, the Apo’s eldest son, aired their side of the story as well as their stand on the issue.

Bago po pala nagpunta ung grupo ng lakwatsero sa awichon, nakipagcoordinate naman cla sa kapatid ko na c regie thru DOT (Department of Tourism) municipal.” (Before the Lakwatsero group came to Awichon, they did coordinate with my brother Regie through the municipal office of the DOT.) The younger Saclag clarifies. “Ang problema lng ay di matawagan si mama sa awichon dahil low bat sya. Ibig kung sabihin, nacoordinate din naman di lng nakarating sa awichon ang mensahe na me dadating na bisita na taga GMA.” (The problem is we couldn’t reach our mom at Awichon because her phone’s battery was low on power. What I mean is, they did coordinate with us, but we couldn’t tell the village that visitors from GMA were coming.)

And true to the Awichon cultural village’s promotion of peace and harmony, the family of Apo Saclag also advised to take the peaceful route in dealing with the matter.

When the NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts,) whose duties include looking after the welfare of National Living Treasure awardees, called up Benson Saclag to ask about the matter, the younger Saclag told them that his father didn’t want to make too much of an issue over the incident.

…sabi pa ng father ko na pakiusapan ko ang ncca na hwag ng gumawa ng aksyon at maliit lng na bagay yun. Nakakaintindi naman ang ncca nung tinawagan ko na hwag ng gumawa ng aksyon sa pakiusap ni papa… Hwag lng po sana maulit ang mga ganitong pangyayari sa awichon man o sa ibang lugar. (My father told me to ask the NCCA not to take action over such a minor incident. The NCCA understood and will abide by papa’s request. I just wish that incidents like these never happen again at Awichon nor in other places.) AWICHON means Peaceful and relaxing place.”

Written by Bambi Eloriaga-Amago

Bambi is a freelance writer/editor who is a big fan of Marvel, Star Wars, and all things geeky. Aside from her geek obsessions, she's also an aspiring cat lady with three cats in her household. She's also a devoted mom and wife.

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