For a moment, we allow ourselves to go out of our comfort zones, look beyond the confines of Davao City and pick issues that matters to us.
This time, we take a look at a viral video about a foreigner making honest comments about the Philippines. While tourism brochures and testimonies often get positive comments about our country, its beauty and its people, we Filipinos often complain just about any minor issue we see everyday.
Low supply of water pressure, uncollected garbage, rise in petty crimes, undisciplined drivers, dirty sewers or a pothole in the highway. Let’s not kid ourselves, we take notice of these things everyday and with no resolution in sight, we resign to the fact that we need to bear with them every day.
This is what the foreigner, Jimmy Sieczka, expressed in a video he’d describe as “20 Things I Dislike About The Philippines”. In the video, he was seen walking around Cebu City and observing queer things such as men urinating everywhere, drivers honking their cars all the time and incompetent security guards trying to do their jobs with no real regard for security.
Apparently, Sisinio Andales, a Cebu City councilor thought that this video was released with the purpose of painting the Philippines in a bad light.
“Iyang gipakatap sa tanan nga way ayo diri, nga it’s not fun to be in the Philippines,” said Andales. He said this is in contrast to the tourism promotion slogan of the Department of Tourism “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.”
He vowed to file a resolution before the City Council to declare Sieczka a “persona non grata” or an unwelcome person.
Andales said Sieczka should have called the attention of concerned government officials about his problems with the city before making the video.
We can only imagine that plenty of concerned Cebuanos may have expressed their concerns about cleanliness and bad habits in the city for years, but maybe their concerns were simply ignored. Here comes a bold Sieczka making a statement in behalf of these Cebuanos and creating a video that soon became a viral hit. We wonder if the video was made by an obscure Filipino, it may have not strike the chord and reach the mainstream.
The truth hurts Mr Andales. We are sure you are also pissed off by uncomfortable “comfort rooms”, garbage piling on the streets and streets stinking with urine. Instead of fixing these issues, you chose to call this person unwelcome for “degrading” the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan.
The last time we checked, we live in a democratic country which allows everyone to express their views. Did you just implement a city ordinance seeking to label people who make nasty — but honest — remarks about Cebu or the Philippines “persona non grata?”
Without that video, life goes on. But are we content on dealing with the eyesores and lack of discipline? Why not change for the better instead of demonizing the catalysts of change? With the help of social media, Arab Spring was born and toppled some hardline governments in the Middle East. Maybe it can also change the way officials in the Philippine government think.