Provincial Board condemns ‘blasphemous’ Niño meme
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - August 2, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board has condemned the act of a netizen editing a photograph to replace the face of the Santo Niño with that of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The board called the act 'blasphemous' in a resolution.

"The meme of the Sto. Niño de Cebu and President Duterte is a profane act which should be condemned in the highest possible terms," the resolution reads.

 "The act is very much detestable and a serious attempt to the faith of the Cebuanos who are very well known of their deep and profound devotion to Señor Sto. Niño," it added.

 The edited image was posted on Facebook by a certain Max Namara to which Manila-based tour guide Carlos Celdran, a Duterte critic, commented "Pwet Señor."

These actions drew the ire of other netizens, especially the devotees of the Child Jesus.

Board Member Sun Shimura, the author of the resolution, said the comment of Celdran affirmed the condemnable act.

"He cannot belie the fact that what was replaced in the image of the Child Jesus was only the face but the other recognizable features of the image of Holy Child still remain.  Hence, Celdran's averments and explanation to the matter are untenable," he said.

 Scores of enraged social media users lambasted Celdran and Namara for their supposed disrespect to the Child Jesus and Duterte.

 Vice Governor Agnes Magpale agreed.

 "We take offense at such act making fun of our Sto. Niño," she said.

 The resolution, Shimura said, serves as a warning to netizens against making fun of the Holy Child.

 "Personal grudges or critique by any person against any official of the land should have chosen an appropriate venue for its expression in the public and should have been very sensitive and responsible on its outward manifestations," the resolution reads. 

 The Freeman tried to reach Celdran through Facebook but received no reply as of this writing.

 In a post on July 23, however, Celdran clarified that his remark on the viral post was aimed at Duterte and not at the religious icon.

 "Look at the meme done by a certain 'Max Namara.' Is that the Santo Niño you see? No it is not. It's a picture of Digong superimposed on the Santo Niño. Therefore, it is NOT an image of the Santo Niño at all," he said.

 "So if we follow logic, my reply/comment: 'Pwet Señor' was aimed at Digong and NOT at the Santo Niño at all. But then again, if you cannot tell the difference between the two, that isn't my problem anymore," he added.  (FREEMAN)

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