Persona non grata

LIFE'S ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago - Visaya - The Freeman

One must be a part of and get along with others in a tight-knit community that values social interaction in order to uphold such a social tie. It can be harmful if one has wronged the group by undermining the principles that underlie their tie, such as their culture, values, or customs. One of them is designating that society member as persona non grata.

No longer welcome or acceptable due to what he has said or done, persona non grata is primarily used to refer to a foreign national whose entry or abode is restricted by the government of that nation. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the code of conduct that governs how nations deal with one another, includes this phrase, which literally translates to "unwelcome person", as one of its tenets. Simply put, a visitor to a country --likely someone on a diplomatic mission-- may be denied admission or even expelled for a number of reasons.

On a global scale, for example, Alec Baldwin joked that he was "thinking about getting a Filipino mail-order bride at this point" when speaking about marriage during a 2009 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. The Hollywood actor was eventually denied entry after making the remark, which angered then Senator Ramon Revilla, who called it "insensitive and uncalled for."

Another instance included the Emmy-winning actress Claire Danes, who was prohibited from entering Manila in 1998 by then President Joseph Estrada after describing the city as "ghastly and weird" in an interview with Vogue.

In the Philippine context, this is true for people from all backgrounds. A person may also be declared persona non grata by local governments, which would prevent him from entering the boundaries of that particular area.

On June 20, 2022, Quezon City ruled that the controversial director Darryl Yap and comedian Ai-Ai delas Alas were personae non gratae. The decision was brought about by a two-minute campaign video that Yap put on his Facebook page and that "disrespected the city's official seal." In the film, which Yap also created, delas Alas played Ligaya Delmonte, a parody of QC Mayor Joy Belmonte. A seal behind her had been altered to say "BBM SARA" --a reference to Vice President Sara Duterte and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In 2014, after calling women in the city "hipon" --a derogatory term used to describe a woman with an attractive physique but an unattractive face--comedian Ramon Bautista was declared persona non grata by the Davao City Council, which called him an "extremely corrupt influence to the youth." The resolution goes on to say that the comedian encouraged a disrespectful culture of male chauvinism toward women.

Amadeus Fernando Pagente, also known as Pura Luka Vega in drag, was recently made persona non grata in General Santos City, Pampanga, and Manila. This was in response to the drag queen's popular video in which he performed a remix of the “Ama Namin” while dressed as Jesus Christ. The ruling bodies denounced Pura Luka Vega's actions in their resolutions.

When certain groups or communities feel their deeply-held values, cultures, beliefs, and traditions are being offended, the consequences can be unpleasant to some extent. After all, there are sensibilities that we need to fully understand and respect as they reside in the hearts and souls of the people.

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