Diaper ad slammed for ‘distorting history’

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CEBU CITY—It wasn’t funny.

Mayor Paz Radaza of Lapu-Lapu City has demanded an apology from the makers of a brand of disposable diaper to pull out their television advertisement that mocked the historic Battle of Mactan.

She also demanded that the advertisement of EQ diapers be pulled out because it was “grave insult to (Lapu-Lapu residents) and to the Filipinos in general.”

“As a good corporate citizen, they must help preserve the lessons of history and promote our country’s culture and heritage, not mock it with crass commercialism,” she said in a statement.

The EQ Diaper commercial portrayed Portuguese conquistador Ferdinand Magellan bringing a box full of diapers for “Lapu-Lapu’s son” as a sign of friendship when the Spaniards landed in what is known as Mactan Island.

But Lapu-Lapu’s wife objected because the diapers offered by Magellan were of low quality. Instead, she presented EQ Diapers. Lapu-Lapu raised his sword and said Magellan was not a true friend. He then challenged Magellan to face him in battle at Mactan.

Radaza, however, was not amused by the advertisement.

“Distorting history and making the Battle of Mactan look funny on TV is a lame attempt to promote a product,” she added.

Radaza said she was disturbed when she heard young children talking about the television advertisement and considered “it as a true reflection of history.”

She stressed that Datu Lapu-Lapu, together with at least 1,000 of his men bravely faced swords, crossbows, guns and canons of the Spaniards and won the famous Battle of Mactan.

“The victory of Datu Lapu-Lapu and his men serve as a fountain of pride for us Oponganons. As a people, we must always preserve and respect our culture and heritage. As a people, we must always be proud of our history,” she said.

Over a decade, Radaza said the Lapu-Lapu City government has been commemorating the Battle of Mactan with a reenactment every April 27 in an effort to preserve and promote their culture and heritage.

When she took over as mayor in 2010, she said they expanded the commemoration of the Battle of Mactan by organizing a Kadaugan Street Party so the youth would be proud of Lapu-Lapu’s heroism and bravery because “at one time in our history we won and was victorious against foreign invaders.”

“I call on our legislators to pass a law declaring April 27 a public holiday so that as Filipinos we can all together commemorate a victorious event in our country’s history.”

The mayor, apparently, is not alone in her sentiments against the commercial.

There is an online petition started by Balbino Guerrero, renowned tourist guide in Cebu who holds a major in history.

The online petition is posted on www.change.org, which calls on JS Unitrade, the distributor of the diaper, to stop the airing of the diaper commercial because “it presented a twisted history” and “it gives the youth a wrong impression of Lapu-Lapu.”

It has 133 supporters as of Thursday morning.

One of the petition’s supporters considered the commercial an insult not only to Cebu but the whole country as well.

“Lapu-Lapu is a hero and I believe that he doesn’t deserve this kind of publicity to this generation. This is totally bad advertising,” Margarette Joyce Garcia said in her post.

Elizabeth Griffins, who made a post from France, said the commercial was a “very wrong marketing strategy.”

Another supporter, Abelardo Alix of San Diego, California, wrote in his post: “You’re shameful and you are disrespectful of our race.”

Jonha Revesencio of Iloilo City noted that the TV ad “sends a wrong message to a generation who’s starting to forget the history.” He added that if the misleading advertisement continues to air, the future generations might think it would be alright to distort the history.

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