Dear Sen. Tito Sotto & Mr. Joey De Leon,
I am writing you this letter in behalf of the entire Moro / Muslim community who were upset on your chosen “halloween costumes” during Eat Bulaga’s October 31, 2015 episode. You chose to wear the national costumes of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; an attire worn not only by Saudi nationals but by millions of Muslims and well-respected Islamic scholars all over the world.
Based on my understanding and your projection of the show last Saturday, your halloween costumes are prepared in order for you to be funny, to be creative or to be scary (as what this celebration is all about). All of these reasons to wear such attire are, well, insulting.
If you analyze what you have done, you were simply trying to imply that such Arab attire is “funny” or “scary” enough that it fits on the celebration of Halloween. Seriously? Since when did Arabian attires fall in the same wardrobe of vampires, monsters and demons? Or are you simply implying something else? Because based on the concept of this celebration, you were aligning your Arabian characterizations to creatures that are non-existent in the first place without considering the fact that this country is filled with Muslims who wear the same costume as yours. Are “we” that “scary?”
Now, beloved friends, you may jump to the argument that their attire is “cultural” and was not meant to insult our “religion” in general. Read my earlier statements again. Because like I said, this particular attire is worn to prayer, not only by Arabs, but millions of Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds as well. So at the end of the day, this attire is not only representing the Saudi nationals but a significant number of Muslims and prominent Islamic Scholars in the world as well. Thus, creating a stereotypical joke out of us.
I am not angry but I am very disappointed much like most of our brethren because we are all aware that not only there is seemingly an invisible barrier between Filipinos but it feels like we are mocked in front of national television and we cannot do anything about it because we do not have strong media outlets that may address the lack of information on who we really are as a society.
Joey De Leon and Senator Tito Sotto, you are two well-respected figures in this country. Despite all the controversies you faced throughout the decades, nobody can deny that your influence is still unparalleled. This is why we ask you to become sensitive enough on what you perform on air. Senator Sotto, you are a senator of this republic, you should know your limits as a comedian and as a statesman.
Lastly, it is “common sense” that Saudis do not celebrate Halloween which is even more insulting to their part because what they wear is being projected as something funny in a celebration they do not even commemorate. A celebration meant to be dedicated on remembering the “dead.”
This is why I hope that Eat Bulaga along with GMA will provide a statement of apology from Senator Tito Sotto and Mr. Joey De Leon and that an incident like this will not happen again.
I pray that the spirit of unity and diversity reign in this country.
A Muslim Filipino,