MANILA—Imelda Papin defended herself following the backlash she received for taking part in a music video released by the Chinese Embassy in Manila, which many Filipinos online viewed as an insult.
Titled "Iisang Dagat," the music video was billed as a call for unity between China and the Philippines amidst the coronavirus pandemic, featuring lines such as, "Ikaw at ako'y nasa iisang dagat." But many took it as an insult instead, noting China’s aggressive sovereignty claim over the West Philippine Sea.
In a message sent to ABS-CBN News' Mario Dumaual, the singer maintained that the song is about "unity," that she had taken no talent fee for the project, and that she had hoped it would inspire Filipinos during these anxious times.
"Dapat huwag bigyan ng kulay," she said. "Kasi mababa ang morale ng tao ngayon . . . Ngayon ang panahon na dapat magkaisa at wala na munang away."
Her statement came after she became one of the most talked about people on Twitter locally this Saturday, and Papin took offense with the posts lambasting her decision to lend her voice to the song.
"Bakit i-criticize ang participation ko?" she asked, before lashing out: "Bakit hindi sila kumibo sa mga tulong na binibigay ng China --doctors, protective equipment, etc."
"Bakit ako? I pray for everyone and as Filipinos let us all pray together and healed as one! Hindi ako sumingil kahit isang centavo. For love and unity," she said.
Her full statement can be read below:
"Hayaan natin sila ipagdasal ko na lang. Kasi hindi naman ako nag presenta. Ako mismo ang kinuha . . . bilang chosen artist ni Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian — the composer of the song — at ang message ng song — it's all about unity — awitin ng
pagkakaisa, pagtutulungan at pag asa."
"Dapat huwag bigyan ng kulay. Kasi mababa ang moral ng tao ngayon. Dapat sa pamamagitan ng boses ko ay tumaas mang moral ng ibang tao at makapagbigay-inspirasyon na ngayon ang panahon na dapat mag kaisa wala na munang away"
"Ang title 'Iisang Dagat' para ding isang mundo yan. Bakit i-criticize ang participation ko.
"Bakit hindi sila kumibo sa mga tulong na binibigay ng China —doctors, protective equipment etc. Bakit ako?
"I pray for everyone and as Filipinos let us all pray together and healed as one! Hindi ako sumingil kahit isang centavo.
"For love and unity."