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‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts hit, defended on social media

/ 12:16 PM November 01, 2015
eat bulaga arab costume

Joey de Leon (left) and Senator Tito Sotto in Arabic attire: criticized, defended. EAT BULAGA INSTAGRAM SCREENGRAB

COTABATO CITY — Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has asked noontime TV personalities to apologize to the country’s Muslim community, after a Halloween segment showing them on official Arabian garb on Saturday, drew flak on social media.

In a statement issued the same day by the ARMM’s Bureau of Public Information, Hataman said the ARMM government “takes offense at and is appalled by the stunt pulled on national TV by noontime show Eat Bulaga on Saturday, October 31 — where hosts Joey de Leon and Senator Tito Sotto came out dressed as Muslims for their Halloween Special.”

The ankle-length long-sleeved white garment is also worn by Filipino Muslims on very special occasions of international prayers in Islam like Eidl Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan month-long fasting, and Edl Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) prayer.

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“On behalf of the Filipino Moro people, we demand that producers and hosts of the noontime show issue a public apology,” the ARMM governor said.

“This display betrays an insensitivity by these hosts, as they equated the Muslim garb as a costume to be feared, in the way that zombies and ghouls are to be feared,” said the statement entirely attributed to Hataman.

On Facebook, netizens have variably described Sotto’s and De Leon’s depiction of Halloween image by being dressed in Muslim “thaub” or “thobe” as: “Disgusting,” “disrespectful,” “shameful,” “racist,” “insensitive.”

Over at Eat Bulaga’s Instagram account, commenters defended De Leon and Sotto. One said the attire was “not Muslim holy costume,” a “basic clothing ng kahit sino sa Arab countries.” Another said even Christians in Saudi wear such clothing.

“Its just a simple attire it has nothing to do with being a Muslim!!!” an Eat Bulaga defender said.

It is not clear whether Hataman has formally written the producers of Eat Bulaga to demand apology, aside from the statement issued by his office.

Commissioner Mehol Sadain of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos said an initial unofficial message from the camp of the Eat Bulaga producers was that the Muslim garment had been in their production costume room for such occasion as United Nations Day.  Nash B. Maulana

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TAGS: Arabic, ARMM, Eat Bulaga, Joey de Leon, keffiyeh, Mujiv Hataman, Muslims, thawb, Tito Sotto
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