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Does Jimmy deserve persona non grata?
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Persona non grata (Latinpluralpersonae non gratae), literally meaning “an unwelcome person”, is a legal term used in diplomacy that indicates a proscription against a person entering the country.
In non-diplomatic usage, referring to someone as persona non grata is to say that he or she is ostracized. Such a person is for all intents and purposes culturally banished, so as to be figuratively nonexistent. (Wiki)

Jimmy

After I blogged about Jimmy Sieczka’s 20 things he dislikes about the Philippines, I asked Teddyboy Locsin Jr. his thoughts on Twitter:

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So now the guy apparently is willing to apologize for his video, following a Cebu City councilor’s move to declare him persona non grata. Your thoughts?

Jimmy

Cebu-based American willing to apologize over ‘offensive’ viral video
By Jovan Cerda, Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – James Sieczka, the Cebu-based independent filmmaker behind the infamous video titled “20 Reasons Why I Dislike the Philippines,” said he is willing to apologize following a Cebu City councilor’s move to declare him persona non grata.
The video, uploaded two weeks ago at channelfix.com, made its way through video-sharing site Youtube and went viral in online social networks Facebook and Twitter.
It showed the American’s complaints about Cebu City, including, among others, filthy restrooms, loitering child beggars and a giant hole in the street covered by a metal drum.
Sieczka said in the video that he has been living in the Philippines for more than three years now.
In response, city councilor Sisinio Andales said he is filing a resolution to declare Sieczka persona non grata. Persona non grata is a term indicating that a person is no longer welcome in a particular area.
Read Sieczka’s statement below which he sent to philstar.com.

The following is my official statement regarding the “20 Reasons” video that I hosted:

I, James Sieczka, have considered the Philippines as my second country and Cebu as my second home.
The subject video that was aired was made in good faith and as a legitimate and reasonable exercise of my right, “freedom of expression.”
There was no intention to scrutinize the city nor the people that governs the same. It’s an honest observation and opinion that I myself think needs to be worked on not just specifically in Cebu. These are little things that we see around us as normal people and from the eyes of an ordinary man like me.
But from all that’s happening and me just trying to exercise my freedom of speech, I am very open and amenable for an apology, on the manner and means that I exercise my right, if the need presents itself.
As a sign of my compliance for the duly authorized authority and rule of law, I am not ashamed to apologize to people that I offended in the process with the hope that you would reconsider in declaring me “persona non grata.”

Sincerely,
James Sieczka

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  • Peng

    If the city councilor Sisinio Andales would file a resolution to declare Seiczka persona non- grata based on him telling the truth, I would personally make sure that no OFW’s from his constituent will be hired.

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  • DUmm

    I’m a Filipino and lived here all my life. I agree with Jimmy, there are some places in the Philippines that are very dirty and aren’t as good as the tourism commercial we have.  What irks me with his video, however, is that he shows places that have poverty. People in these areas can’t take care of their own lives, let alone the community. IF he shows places like Ayala or any other industrial place here, he would have a hard time saying what he hates about it. It’s like poor places in the US (I’ve been there before) have dirty urinals and graffiti all over their gasoline station’s walls. BUT if you look at their malls and other places, it’s very clean. So, I dare him to make a video where he is showing what he hates about our metropolitan/business places.

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  • Emily G

    Hellz to the NO. I find these reactions only put emphasis on how most of us have gone complacent. Parang okay lang kahit alam na baluktot “andiyan na yan, eh….ganyan na yan, eh…wala na tayong magagawa”. Kung makapag react ang bilis! Pero kung hingan mo ng action mabagal pa sa pagong.

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  • Cole

    My thoughts:

    1. I feel sad for Cebu city’s councilor because Persona non grata can only be filed against a person entering the country and Jimmy has been here for more than three years. He should have reviewed Philippine law first.

    2. The Philippines is fond of making a big deal out of a simple awareness video

    3. If we cannot laugh at this negative comments, then we would not be able to acknowledge the things we need to improve on thus the country will never be a better place to live in.

    Oh my fellow countrymen, please be open-minded and learn to accept criticisms.

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  • Pia

    Honestly his apology does not seem sincere, it’s kind of defensive nga eh. Parang he is just saying it to avoid punishment. But I think issuing him as persona non grata or getting inis at him is too much time or thought wasted on him. Maybe we should all stop caring so much the video. And maybe we should also stop caring about that company Channelfix or whatever it is that makes him so much money that he needs to suffer so much in the Philippines for… just so that we don’t look as defensive as he does.

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  • To me, he was just saying how much he actually likes being here. Come on, when you have twenty things to say negatively then why stay here three years. It was done in good humor. I like the video and it made me smile.

    In any case, it brought traffic to their website so yeah it served its purpose.

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  • Yes we are free to do that as well but I’m pretty sure we wont be declared persona non grata in the US for doing such a thing

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  • What he showed in the video is true. Most of us are so proud to take criticisms. Let’s open our eyes people and accept reality!

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  • No he doesn’t deserve persona non grata. He had the right to express himself. Some (since i don’t want to generalize) Pinoys are so butthurt. Get over it or better yet, learn something from it.

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  • literarybulimia

    Jimmy is cute. That’s all. Thank you.

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  • I say make this video a wake up call. Remember Claire Danes? I mean, we boycott her films instead of changing things in the country and ourselves. That was over ten years ago and now this, nothing has been done at all but make things worse.

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  • So this guy is still alive?

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  • I still remember that “half a leg wax” spiel by Mich Dulce! :)) 

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  • FUCK your “Freedom of Expression’!!!

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  • over sensitive talaga ang officials dito. not to mention in denial. jusko, lahat naman talaga ng public ng kubeta sa pilipinas walang toilet seat at toilet paper, i didn’t know stating that fact could get you persona non grata. and ano ba talaga ginagawa ng mga security guards at ano ba talaga ang inahanap nila sa bag natin? now that i said the same things we experience everyday, ibig sabihin ba nun ka persona non grata na rin ako? sana imbis na inaasikaso nila yung persona non grata nya, ayusin nalang nila yung mga problema.

    the only thing i didn’t agree with was his judgement of filipinos “wanting to be white” because of using whitening products. we don’t label them people who “want to be black” by baking under the sun, ultra violet coffins and painting themselves orange 🙂 .

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  • If he’s willing to apologize naman..end of the story na..let’s all move on. I think it’s just natural for Filipinos to overreact sometimes especially if it’s our pride or ego  being attacked. After the burst of emotion, “mahihimasmasan” din naman tayo (get calm) and we’ll realize that we actually overreacted. Para lang yan anak mo, kapag sinabihan ng pangit ng classmate nya (totoo man o hindi), ikaw una masasaktan as a parent, you wanted to get even . Same with our country, if we hear something not nice about it, we get furious kasi mahal natin eh but then after awhile, that too shall pass especially if we get the apology that we want regardless if it’s necessary or not.

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  • Angelique

    I am a Filipino living in France. People complain about the French all the time. There’s the book series including “A Year In The Merde”, “Talk To The Snail” and “Merde, Actually” by Stephen Clarke … which describe how shitty life is in France. Over a decade later, Stephen Clarke is still living in France, still writing anti-French books, guests on TV (France 24), and his books have been translated to several languages.

    The French are also called Frogs and many other names. No one reacts violently. How classy to be able to accept criticism. One must be able to laugh at oneself. The Philippines tends to have Third World country syndrome. It’s an inferiority complex from being looked down on for centuries. So when Filipinos are criticized, they can’t handle it. Except for a few, good humored ones.

    Lighten up. When you see trash, pick it up. Or add more public trash cans in your neighborhood instead of buying yet another handbag you don’t need. When you see cockroaches, organize a fumigation party. It’s not expensive to do small public services in the Philippines. I myself want to make a video on “20 Reasons Why I Hate NAIA” so that someday … I won’t have to land there in it’s current state when I go home.

    Last year an English person criticized Manila and I had to react to him because he really was generalizing. James Sieczka only wrote 20 things he dislikes. That’s nothing.

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    CVS Reply:

    OMG I want to do “20 Reasons Why I Hate NAIA” too!

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    Angelique Reply:

    Well since you’re in NAIA more often than me … make sure to include magnified images of the floor made of rubberized circles (shudder) and my favorite part … the C.R. haha! someone shoot me now … I go bananas whenever I hear the acronym C.R. … really it’s annoying. Video ends with parting image of a classic Pinoy traveling the anglophone world, asking for a C.R. and getting strange stares. 

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    Tuna Pie Reply:

    I agree with what you said about the handbag thingy, a lot of pretentious, social climber Pinays are so into designer bags which they don’t even need!

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  • this is funny. OA sa pagfile ng persona non grata! Walang magawa si councilor!

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  • coffeeandpiegeneration

    I’ve been living in DC & NY for 10yrs and there are 100 things I dislike about both of the cities, this country, and I have been vocal about it – I attend council meetings and session hall meetings with the mayor – never did they tell me to go and pack my bags because I complained about the road construction that’s been going on for 2yrs or the hookers and junkies on the corner.
    Instead, they took it as a legitimate concern and took necessary actions – whatever they may be.
    The fact that you just wrote that Singaporeans stink on a semi-public (someone from Singapore can easily be reading this now)… should you be banned from going to their country for criticizing them?

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  • coffeeandpiegeneration

    ang O.A. LOpez lang mag react ng Pinoys, noh? bad press, good press… laging over ang reaction.
    most of what he said/showed in the video are true, unfortunately. take it with a grain of salt. learn from it, improve from it – instead, we complain, we cry, we act like brats. *sigh*

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  • aimeeY

    definitely NOT. if we proclaim him “persona-non-grata”… it will only become his 21st reason to dislike the philippines. i personally liked his video, even laughed out loud watching it because everything was/is true! filipinos, including myself, are pretty poor in handling criticism… i think it’s high time we embrace all these and instead of sulking in grudge towards the likes of jimmy, we should (esp those in power) put efforts in fixing all the flaws in the country… major major efforts so we must start now… thanks to jimmy’s video for jumpstarting the cause! he really did us a favor – making obvious what has been ignored for years… don’t get me wrong, i love pinas and i would really want it to become a better place! someday!

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  • CVS

    I don’t think he’s serious. He was tweeting to me and he always makes jokes on twitter. So don’t take it seriously. Imagine your funny uncle being goofy. That’s what it is. So I learned 🙂

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    kviaene Reply:

    Was he joking when he said “trailer park denizen” (it’s like a nice way of saying trailer park trash)?

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  • mc

    Rather than slapping an easy fix and banning this individual, people should take the video for what it was meant to accomplish. For governing bodies to pay more attention to a foreigner speak of what many Filipinos both in the Philippines and abroad have been trying to say is a reflection on us. Ostracizing someone that has made honest observations will not resolve the problem but rather mask it until it arises again.
    For a nation that seeks to attract tourism, these are some of the flaws that deter foreigners from coming back. Take this as constructive criticism and use it to make positive changes.  Or ignore it, but it will certainly not go away.

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  • geee

    Grabe naman, he doesn’t deserve it. Kita naman sa video yung point niya, eh. Anong pinagtatanggol ni councilor?? yung dignidad ng mga ipis????

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  • CVS

    LOL at nose picking. I also saw a guy spit on the rug in Hong Kong. Serves me right for eating in a dump, haha

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  • CVS

    i think it was another guy who did the other video

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  • Mitzi

    Sa totoo lang, ang babaw natin kung gagawin pa natin siya na Persona Non Grata. Really. Why can’t this country take negative comments but how we bask in glory? I’m honestly proud of him to have balls to say what needs to be said. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with him, but geez, Persona Non Grata?? ANG BABAW NG COUNCILOR AH.

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  • what good is an apology if it is issued under duress?  I may not like this guy, in fact i think he is an ignoramus, but we are a free country and even idiots like him are free to voice out their opinions

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  • David Ballesteros

     A giant hole in the street covered by a metal drum–‘sus ko. This is an accident waiting to happen.  Has anything been done about this? I remember falling into an open manhole while jogging in Manila in the early morning. I love our country, and I’ll love it even more if the LGUs make the streets safe for everyone.

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  • IUTS

    The guy and the company who did this is just doing it for money..basic economics. Let’s not romanticize his intentions. They should not even have been given any more publicity as it is because it only benefits them and no one else.

    But they should be made accountable for any consequences that they may incur for this video. That’s the price they pay…

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  • I can’t believe politicians are even ALLOWED to file resolutions as effin’ useless as this! City councilor Sisinio Andales is so obviously using this non-issue to get his name out there and get publicity for himself. Mr. Andales, how about an ordinance to prevent peeing in public, littering or to regulate plastic bag usage? Any resolution to improve your city will do, anything!

    Grrrrrrrrrrr.

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    Mayo Reply:

    That is what I call the “tapal” or “band-aid” aka quick-fix mentality of our politicians. Instead of figuring out a real, practical, long-term solution to such a problem, they opt for the easy way out. And you’re right, it’s to get his name out there. You won’t believe how politicians pad their resumés with such idiotic resolutions such as renaming roads, schools, etc. 

    Is it campaign season yet? 😛

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  • Last time I checked, this was a free country and people were allowed to express their opinions — James Sieczka included. If we were to persona-non-grata everyone who has something ill to say about the Philippines (and trust me, we each have at least one thing about this country that irks us to no end), no one would be left!

    We should probably thank him for keeping the list to 20.  He obviously didn’t think of visiting our airports, going to a government office, or watching the stupid antics shown on primetime television. There’s enough material there to complete a mini-series.

    Let’s fix the source of the problem instead of knocking down those who bring it forward.

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  • Pag Pinoy ang nang-lait, kere lang. Pag tayo nilait, ‘di na pwede? Gash.

    Another thing to hate about the Philippines.

    PS. The title of the video says 20 Reasons I Dislike the Phillipines. But, (1) dislike is a euphemism. He hates those things and we hate those things. And (2) if you say you dislike something about the Philippines, that should be something natural. Like the climate, or the landscape. But what he really dislikes is the FILIPINOS who do those things. The drum in the hole didn’t put itself there. Some lazy ignorant Pinoy put it there. And really, we are the reason why so many foreigners dislike (read: hate) our country!

    Good vibes! 😀

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  • hmmm.. wag paalisin! why not make him make another video, a before and after? meron mga points dun na madali naman solusyunan like the manhole with drum. treat the video as an audit that’ll help us improve our country. ano ba matutulong if he’ll be declared persona non grata? 

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  • Entry and continued stay in the Philippines is merely a privilege, not a demandable right, by foreigners.  A host should not be expected to simply grin and bear insults (perceived or actual) hurled by a mere guest.  If a guest in your house tells you the food you served him sucks (even if it did), he shouldn’t expect that he can continue to stay under your roof.  He can continue insulting you, your cook and your food outside your home though.  It would be different, if the ungracious guest is your child.    

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    coffeeandpiegeneration Reply:

    well, on that note. should the US send back all the Filipinos here in the US who complain about this (US) country???

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  • I believe that James Sieczka has the right to criticize Cebu City. After all, he’s been living there for 3 years. It was an honest opinion of Cebu City and the City Government should see it as a constructive criticism. Wag silang balat-sibuyas since kitang-kita naman sa video yung points ni James Sieczka.

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  • if you read the actual description in their video, it really wasn’t made to be malicious. if a filipino did the video instead of an expat, magiging ganyan ba yung reaction ng mga tao or nung councilor? kung makareact naman yung councilor kala mo naman perfect bansa natin. and to be fair they should take into consideration na there was two videos made, one that has 20 things to dislike and 20 things to like.

    aminin din nyo naman kahit naman tayo mismong mga pilipino, we have 20 things that we don’t like about our country.

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  • there are far more important things to think about… let’s all move on.

    …and rather than sulk over what he said, let’s do something about it. issuing a persona non grata is just a waste of resources and time.

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  • they just gave him the 21st reason why he dislikes the Philippines.
    I agree that they should take his comments constructively.
    Anu ba, they shouldn’t be making such a big deal out of this!
    Totoo naman sinabi niya ah. The way they are reacting just makes them more guilty.

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  • no. 

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  • Mandy

    Oh please Mr. Councilor, you’re just giving more attention to the video. Why do Filipinos have to be so onion skinned. From the mention on Desperate Housewives, Claire Danes, etc. Who cares what they say? (it’s mostly true anyway! hahaha.)

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  • ohsnap!

    Jimmy acted in the Dislike video. The producer was Michael Goodman, the long hair guy in the Like version. If Cebu councilor is going to slap a persona non-grata, it is myopic to single out Jimmy. Shouldn’t it be the entire group? Btw, Jimmy is moving to Manila to set-up another Channelfix shop. Shouldn’t Cebu, deal with the entire company? 

    Most of the contributors in Channelfix are expats hanging out in the Philippines trying to make money with cheap video production. Tayo kasing mga pinoy, sanay sa tiis-tiisan and we let issue like this fly. But whining videos like this will keep popping up and will just keep highlighting our failure and we will be slapping persona non-grata left and right like a maniac. Ang masaklap pa nyan, the likes of Thailand, Vietnam etch might just take advantage of this.
    What do we do with the inept councilors? 

    By the way, Philstar just did Channelfix an advertising favor. Pagnakalabas to sa international press at ang labas is ‘censorship’ Channelfix will get the sympathy of freedom of speech advocates. Whereas tayo, we are still stuck with cockroaches.

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  • OA naman. I live in Cebu (just moved back home a month ago) and don’t see these things everyday but I am aware they exist. Even though it exists, take it with a grain of salt and look for ways to improve what needs to be improved. Not issuing a persona non grata, his team is doing a great job of actually giving our people some jobs by relocating in Cebu, at least focus on that.. then focus on the issues of the city or country as a whole.

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  • christine

    FINALLY! those who find this offensive can’t handle the truth! suck it up! 

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  • Phoebe

    he is nothing but a KSP (kulang sa pansin) american douchebag who wants attention. and now he’s getting it. the only thing that i was offended with all the things he said was that the only beautiful women in our country are ladyboys. hay naku why waste time with this guy? by the way, idol ko na si teddy locsin. 

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  • CJ

    i have 200 things i dislike about china or US..but if i make a video..they wont give a sh*t. meaning…we are just overly sensitive and ginagawang big deal kahit maliliit na bagay and kung totoo naman diba? And it only shows how small our world is at kahit may sabihin sa atin na mega sa tv sitcoms abroad pinapatulan. 

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  • maynoona

    If that follows through, he’ll be joining the list of foreigners unwelcome in the Philippines. Sure what he said may have been a bitter pill to swallow but declaring him as a persona non grata is going a little overboard imho.
    After all, can anyone come out and say that he has never pointed out what he considers slight nuisances in other countries or cultures?

    Instead of dwelling over what he’s said (ehem, public officials), couldn’t we just suck it up and work on improving the country?

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  • compared to Claire Danes, I’d take James video constructively. 
    Miss C, what is the best time to bring balikbayans at PL? kasi pag lunch time puno. 
    safe ba ang 11 am? mga senior citizen kasi visitors namin. thanks.

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    CVS Reply:

    yes that’s fine. Come early 🙂

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  • diva44

    I think he means well. All Filipinos say what he already said. Its just that he’s the only one with the guts to post a video about it. The councilor of Cebu should just address the problems he pointed out than being make him a persona non grata.

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    Mgj_delgado Reply:

    I hunder percent agree… Am from Cebu and i even witness how unsanitary the restroom/toilet at the Mactan Airport. You can even smell the urine odor before you enter the restroom. All the guy have said are completely true. No one should be blamed for telling the truth.  

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    Gabrielcades Reply:

    really? last time (weeks ago) i checked the restroom is clean in MIA.

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  • grabe naman. instead of wasting time in getting pikon (the councilor), why don’t we take his opinion constructively and do something about it. the guy may be deemed an a** but hey at least he was honest to point out what was wrong in our country. declaring him as persona non grata is too much…

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