Robin Padilla, who is one of the PGT judges alongside Angel Locsin, Vice Ganda and Freddie Garcia, drew some flak online for “forcing” magician Kim Jiwan to speak Tagalog during his audition in last Saturday’s episode of the talent show’s newest season. File photo

Robin: No regrets on comments on Korean contestant on PGT
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2018 - 2:02pm

MANILA, Philippines— Robin Padilla doesn’t regret his comments on a South Korean contestant on ABS-CBN’s Pilipinas Got Talent (PGT).  

The actor, who is one of the PGT judges alongside Angel Locsin, Vice Ganda and Freddie Garcia, drew some flak online for “forcing” magician Kim Jiwan to speak Tagalog during his audition in last Saturday’s episode of the talent show’s newest season.

On the sidelines of his presscon on Saturday for his upcoming series Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko with Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap, Robin said that he stands by his comments. He cited his personal experience of traveling to other countries and forcing himself to learn the local tongue to connect with the place he’s visiting.

“Wala akong pinag-sisihan kasi ako pumupunta din ako sa ibang bansa, at pag pumupunta ako sa ibang bansa, pinipilit kong malaman kung ano ang salita doon kasi bisita ka doon at ikaw ang makikibagay,” he said.

“Kung pupunta ka dito sa Pilipinas at uutusan mo kami at i-Englisin mo kami sa banyagang pananalita ay nagkakamali ka, bayan ko to.”

In the taped episode, Jiwan said that he may be Korean but that he was “Filipino at heart.” He added that he grew up and studied in the Philippines and has a Filipina girlfriend “which makes me more Filipino.”

When asked by Vice Ganda if he understands Filipino, he replied in the negative, explaining that it wasn’t taught at international school.

Things turned seemingly tense when Jiwan was about to showcase his talent, which was close-up magic, and asked Robin if he could use him in his act.

Robin said, “I’m very sorry, but you can’t use me,” adding that Jiwan has to speak in Tagalog first before he’d get him to participate in any of his tricks, pointing out a couple of times that this was Pilipinas Got Talent.

“Hijo, magmumukha kaming tanga if mag-i-English kami para sa’yo. (Son, we would look stupid if we’re going to speak in English just for you).”

Angel intervened and taught the Korean a few Filipino words and eventually, volunteered to take Robin’s place.

The episode had Robin trending on Twitter with some netizens calling out Robin for being “racist” and “rude” as well as for shaming the Korean on national TV.

However, Robin said his comments should be taken as fatherly advice to a foreigner, who claims to love the Philippines, but doesn’t know how to speak the language. He finds it problematic that a person who has lived for a long time in a foreign country has not learned its language.

“Kaya kung sasabihin mong sampung taon ka na dito at hindi ka pa rin marunong mag-Tagalog aba eh, may problema ka. Hindi mo pwedeng sabihin sa akin na mahal mo ang Pilipinas. Sabi niya mahal niya ang Pilipinas eh, may girlfriend siyang Pilipina pero hindi siya marunong mag-Tagalog?”

According to Robin, he didn’t scold the contestant. “Di ko naman siya inaway, sinabihan ko lang siya na parang Tatay niya. Sinabi ko sa kanya, ako parang Tatay mo. Meron akong kilala ditong Korean, si Ryan Bang, ang galing... mas galing pa sa akin mag-Tagalog. Yung lang naman. Advice lang naman.”

Asked for his reaction to the negative comments online, he said, “Ganun talaga. Eh di mahalin nila ang Korean kung gusto nila. Wala namang problema sa akin yun.”

In the end, Jiwan managed to move to the next round after earning three yeses, including from Robin, who praised Jiwan for not cracking under pressure. The contestant, for his part, promised to learn Tagalog from thereon. 

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