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Apologize to Cebuanos, Diaz told

First Posted 07:19:00 09/01/2010

CEBU officials yesterday voiced their indignation over what they said were derogatory remarks made by former beauty queen Gloria Diaz against the Cebuanos.

In a privilege speech, Rep. Rachel ?Cutie? del Mar of Cebu City?s north district demanded that Diaz, a former Miss Universe winner, apologize for saying that Cebuanos can hardly speak English or Tagalog.

Provincial Board Member Agnes Magpale said Diaz should issue a public apology to the Cebuanos. If not, she added, the Provincial Board might approve a resolution that would declare her persona non grata in the province.

?We feel strongly that she owes us an apology,? said Magpale in an interview over TV Patrol Cebu.

Diaz made the remarks in a televised interview in response to a question of whether Filipina contestants should have interpreters for future Miss Universe competitions.

Binibing Pilipinas titlist Venus Raj, a favorite to win the title, finished fourth in the just concluded international pageant mainly due to her reply to the final question-and-answer portion at the pageant.

Del Mar said Diaz's remarks had no basis considering that Cebu is home to many business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.

?Government data showed that its strong pool of qualified personnel suited for the BPO field has become Cebu?s edge in attracting leading call centers. Cebu also has the most number of special economic zone and IT Centers outside the National Capital Region,? Del Mar said in a privilege speech yesterday.

She also said tourism has grown in Cebu because of the Cebuano?s ability to communicate intelligently with foreign tourists.?

Del Mar said she heard about Diaz's remarks from her constituents.

Del Mar said a friend asked her why some people thought of Cebuanos as second class citizens.

?Aren't we all Filipinos?? she quoted her friend as saying.

?I invite all of you to view the hundreds of comments posted by my fellow Cebuanos on the Internet following Diaz?s controversial televised statement,? Del Mar said.

Provincial Board Member Magpale said Diaz should apologize to Cebuanos.

She is set to file a resolution condemning Diaz? ?ethnic slur against the Cebuanos.?

?Whether clothed in malice or not, Diaz's remarks pierce our hearts as Cebuanos who consider our native tongue as a sacred heritage and we deeply feel that such arrogant remark insinuates that Cebuanos are inferior breed of Filipinos,? said Magpale in her proposed resolution.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she was ?horrified? by Diaz?s remarks and supports the board resolution, saying the presence of BPO firms in the province disproved Diaz's remarks.

Garcia said such remarks demand an apology to the Cebuano community.

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