PBB apologizes to indigenous communities

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2009 08:48 PM | Updated as of Dec 17 2009 05:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The management of ABS-CBN’s “Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Double Up” on Wednesday apologized to Katribu party-list, an indigenous peoples sectoral party, after the group protested the “inappropriate use of bahag (g-string)” in one of the reality show’s episodes.

In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, the PBB management said “it did not intend to offend the sensitivities and customs of the indigenous people in any way.”

“We apologize if our housemate was unable to strictly follow the guidelines but rest assured that, at this moment, measures are underway to correct that matter," the statement said.

PBB was reacting to a letter sent by Katribu party-list to abs-cbnNEWS.com Tuesday.

In her letter, Katribu party-list president Beverly Longid called the attention of the PBB management regarding the "inappropriate" use of bahag. Longid pointed out that one of the housemates “wrongly” wrapped around his waist an Igorot g-string in his task.

Longid was referring to Steve “Tibo” Jumalon who was made to wear a bahag in an effort to teach him the value of simplicity.

“While we understand that the intent of its use is to promote certain moral values, we believe it diminished the cultural symbolism and importance of the indigenous garb,” she said.

“Any inappropriate use of our culture not only offends our sensitivities but also demeans the integrity of our customs and traditions, which we passionately defend together with our rights to ancestral land and self-determination,” she added.

Bahag is traditionally worn by Igorot men of Cordillera and other indigenous peoples such as the Aetas, Dumagats and Mangyans.

Since PBB is a widely followed and viewed by the public including indigenous communities across the country, she called on the management to correct the “improper use of the bahag.”

PBB’s daily ratings reached 33.3% in Metro Manila on December 8 and 29.5% nationwide on December 7, the highest ratings the program has received this season, according to the late night primetime block survey done by the TNS Media Research. -With a report from Ginger Conejero, ABS-CBN News