CHED official draws ire over 'insensitive' remark about Culion

MANILA, Philippines – An official from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has drawn the ire of netizens, including the Mayor of Culion, Palawan over his statement about the film "Culion."
CHED official draws ire over 'insensitive' remark about Culion

Culion Island holds a rich history
Culion Island holds a rich history | Photo Courtesy: Instagram/Culion Film

Lawyer Joselito Alisuag, CHED MIMAROPA regional director, and a Palawan local, may have good intentions when he urged the public to watch the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) official entry "Culion." Unfortunately, his caption has offended the people in the said town.

READ: MMFF 2019: All 8 official entries bared

On Facebook, Alisuag shared the trailer for the movie, "Culion" and said, "Culion… ang isla ng mga taong buhay na patay. Panoorin.”

Culion is famous for its rich history as it is where the Culion Leper Colony is located. The former leprosarium was established by the US government to get rid of leprosy in the Philippines. By isolating all cases, it will gradually stop from spreading the disease to the rest of the population.

Culion the movie is part of 2019 MMFF
Culion the movie is part of 2019 MMFF | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ Culion movie

Alisuag's statement didn't sit too well with Culion Mayor Ma. Virginia De Vera who urged the lawyer to come and visit the town.

She said, "Sayang naman po yung taas ng pagtingin namin sayo sa sobrang liit pala ng pagtingin nyo sa aming bayan. Masakit po sa amin ang tawagin ninyong ganyan ang aming bayan. Napasyalan nyo na po ba ang bayan ng Culion?"

The film director of "Culion" Alvin Yapan also commented that Alisuag's statement represents the stigma behind the town that they want to break. He said, “Iyan ang pangunahing dahilan kaya ginawa ang pelikula. Panoorin niya ang pelikula."

Actor Joel Saracho, one of Culion film’s casts also shared his disappointment over the wrong perception towards the island.

He said,"Maging sa panahon na naging leper colony ang Culion, hindi ito itinuring na isla ng mga buhay na patay. Kahit ang mga katutubong naninirahan kasama ng mga may sakit na ketong, nagsumikap gumawa ng paraan para sa pagkakataong mabuhay."

A Culion resident, Maxim Raymundo asked Alisuag to make an apology and to stop spreading hate and stigma.

Meanwhile, the lawyer already issued an apology over his controversial remarks. Alisuag said he only intended to promote the film and didn't intend to offend anyone.

He said, "The comment on the video was intended to help promote the movie but it has touched a raw nerve on some people. Again, my apologies."

The film "Culion" is part of the MMFF's "Magic 8" this year. It stars Iza Calzado, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Meryl Soriano. Much to the surprise of many, John Lloyd Cruz was also seen making a cameo role.

You can watch the trailer here:

— Sally, The Summit Express

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