Iloilo is not a ‘shabolized’ city: An open letter from an Ilonggo blogger

A rift has ensued among the Bisaya people after President Rodrigo Duterte referred to Iloilo City as a “shabolized” city simply because their newly-elected Mayor was one of those accused of peddling illegal drugs. Whatever happened to Bisaya people being united?

An Ilonggo blogger going by the name of Mutya has a mouthful for the President of the Philippines after the statements he made about Iloilo City as a whole following the discovery that the city’s mayor was one of those politicians accused of peddling illegal drugs.

That discovery was made following the President’s release of the list of public servants connected to the illegal drug trade in the early hours of the morning of August 7, 2016.

The open letter from Mutya reads:

Dear Mr. President,

First of all, I deeply admire your staunch campaign against illegal drugs in our country. You are the first president who engaged exhaustively in this fight.

We are one in ensuring that this country will become a safer place for everyone. However, what you have said earlier, declaring in national media, that Iloilo City is the most “shabolized” city in the whole country is unacceptable for me—an Ilonggo who takes pride from our culture and tradition in Iloilo.

Labeling Iloilo City as the most “shabolized” sends a cornucopia of messages that can be interpreted and can be twisted by malicious minds. Let’s be clear here, I am not defending the alleged drug personalities and coddlers in Iloilo City.

I am defending the innocent, hardworking, the law abiding Ilonggos and even your voters who enjoy the gift of liberty and democracy in the City of Love, whom you now tainted with drugs. You placed us in a position of discrimination and bias. We don’t deserve this. You can’t associate our totality with the single acts of the few.

Mr. President, you are a champion of MALASAKIT, I now refused to believe that. Those words came out from your mouth without regards and compassion.

Spoken words are like spent arrows, you can’t take it back. You annihilated the very essence of being an Ilonggo; you robbed us from our identity and peace. You inspired divisions and not unity. How can we heal this country?

In Iloilo, we enjoy the love of the people. Our city is not considered as the most livable in the country for no reason.

Our Batchoy expresses love and compassion; we will protect it from any person, including you. Our Batchoy does not have drugs.

Our Biscocho possesses the passion that we have. We will protect it from anyone who will tarnish our identity. Our Biscocho is not made by drug addicts and pushers.

Our river is very clean; in fact it is considered as one of the cleanest river within the city in the whole world. We will protect this from anyone who will throw anything in our peaceful waters.

Most importantly, our people.

We are loving, we don’t get angry easily, we welcome anyone in our city. Our voice can solve problems. We are not drug pushers. We are not drug addicts.

Here in Iloilo, we value the the family, peace and love.

Typhoon Yolanda made us stronger. We never knelled for anyone except to Senoya Candelaria and  Senyor Sto. Nino. We value religion and morality, that’s why we are living in peace and harmony.

We don’t need to kill a person just to show that we are strong. We even forgive our enemies.

You said that we need to let go of our past grudges, and together, let’s move forward. How can you do this if every day, you are inflicting pain to the morals of the Filipino people? As President, your words are very influential; it can both destroy and create a nation.  As President, you need to be conscientious of the words you say. We are listening to you. We care for you.

Mr. President, congratulations you just have killed all the Ilonggos in Iloilo. I will not ask you to issue an apology. What you have done is UNFILIPINO.

Now, I’m hoping that you are happy.


Many months ago, the Bisaya people were united in pushing change for the country – and that went as far as three people of Bisaya descent running for President (namely President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Grace Poe and ex-Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago).

Fast forward to August 2016 and instead of Duterte’s victory bringing the Bisaya people closer, his victory just divided the Bisaya people – an effect that was not intended in the first place by the people who support President Duterte (and even by the President himself).

We are all shocked and surprised that our President had the heart to blame an entire city for the fault of its Mayor. That’s like saying all Davaoenos are into extrajudicial killings simply because their Mayor seems to be into it.

Regionalism does not really bring our country together, in fact, it divides our country even more, even within regional groups (as evidenced by what is happening now between the Bisaya people of Visayas and the Bisaya people of Mindanao).

We gotta give credit where it is due for Mutya on this one for asserting a united Philippines over a divided one when they described Duterte’s actions as “unfilipino” instead of “unbisaya” because you know what? Being an asshole to an entire city simply because their mayor sucks is not just something looked down upon by the Bisaya people, the Filipino people as a whole looks down upon it.

For now, let’s see where this emerging conflict is leading to but one thing for sure, we’re hoping that it will end as soon as possible. Prolonging this conflict isn’t worth it.


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