Lawyer slams Pinoy Big Brother producers on Facebook for exploiting Badjao Girl

A post slamming the producers of PBB for violating Republic Act No. 8371 is making the rounds online.

On a Facebook post, Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles wrote an open letter condemning the producers of PBB (Pinoy Big Brother) for failing to protect the rights of Rita Gabiola aka Badjao Girl by putting her into their show.

In the post, Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles believes that Rita Gabiola aka Badjao Girl should not have been invited to the show precisely because her ethnic background does not prepare the girl for the “capitalist paradigm of competition.”

According to her, the constitution and the IPRA articulate the rights to which these communities are entitled, precisely to protect them from the lack of understanding that is so pervasive nowadays.

Republic Act. No. 8371 also known as Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act is an act to recognize, protect and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples, creating a national commission on indigenous peoples, establishing implementing mechanisms, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes. Check the link here to read the entire text.

Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles was prompted to write an open letter in the wake of the controversy wherein Rita Gabiola allegedly cried because her PBB housemates poked fun at her undergarment. Check related article here.

Please refer to the full text of the open letter below.

Dear PBB: I will reserve any judgment on the quality of your show. That isn’t the point of this post. But I am particularly disturbed by the treatment dished to Rita Gabiola by her by “fellow housemates.”

I really believe that she should not be on your show. I understand how this survivor-type format works and what I am saying is that you must understand that her community has not done well under the capitalist paradigm of competition.

Prior to the domination of the seas by the Tausug, the Sama-Dilaut (the preferred term) were masters of the waves too. Twentieth century denizens will recognize their ability to dive for pearls or for the tourists, dive for change tossed at them (not exactly a good thing, I know). They sold rare shells and coral formations (before environmental considerations put a stop to the latter.

This is the same community that creates weaving masterpieces be they the pis yabit or the banig.

However, poverty, war, changes in the economy have marginalized the various communities. Some local governments have even pushed them inland, away from their historic dwelling by or on the sea. They refer to themselves as “Badjao lang” or if asked what community they belong to, they respond with “Badjao lang kami”.

Thus the constitution and the IPRA articulate the rights to which these communities are entitled, precisely to protect them from the lack of understanding that is so pervasive nowadays. Their own self characterization sometimes does rub off on us and we look down on them. And sometimes, as well meaning citizens, we rush to their aid, doling out charity or forcing them to accept unfamiliar living conditions. Many times we are wrong for doing so for this interferes with their right to determine their own path, their own development within the context of their history and unique culture. Very few, in fact are equipped to assist the katutubo, good faith and good intentions notwithstanding.

Is it therefore right to place a child, from an indigenous cultural community, entitled to be treated with the dignity and respect for being bearers of a proud nearly forgotten tradition, into a situations such as PBB?

Frankly, it hurts me in the gut.

Source: Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles


  1. Jonathan August 15, 2016
  2. noel g nonot August 15, 2016
    • Lie Ann August 16, 2016
  3. Lot August 16, 2016
  4. Janice August 16, 2016
  5. Fletcher Del Valle August 16, 2016
  6. Torres, Proceso Jr. August 16, 2016
  7. marie August 16, 2016

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