The online school of Palestinean-Israeli video blogger Nas Daily has opposed the findings of the Regional Office of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Nas Daily’s full statement:
“We have just been informed of the contents of a Press Release from the Regional Office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (“NCIP”).
“It is not true that Apo Whang-Od’s consent was not obtained and that she did not affix her signature. It is also not true that the contract was not discussed with her.
“To produce the Whang-Od Academy, we engaged the services of a local production company, known for the projects they produce on Indigenous Peoples. Under our agreement, they were expected to conduct due diligence and comply with all requirements mandated by Philippine law. We were assured that their group would coordinate with Whang-Od, her family, and their community.
“We spent 2 full days filming with Whang-Od and Estela. There were more than 7 people involved in this process, and Estela set-up a bank account to receive the funds from the project. It is very very hard for Whang-Od Academy to exist without the consent of Whang-Od and her family.
“The Nas Academy Contract was presented and translated to Whang-Od by her niece, Estela Baydon Palangdao, in the presence of Rudy (brother of Whang-Od), husband of Estela (biological nephew of Whang-Od), two other members of their tribe as well as Agosto, a tour guide and tourism officer. As shown in a portion of the video which we released, you can see that Whang-Od affixed her thumbprint on the contract, only after the contents had been explained to her by the local Filipino production team with the help of Estela. It was only after the permission was granted by the family, that the filming started.
“It is not true that the contact was onerous n the part of Whang-Od.
“The contract specifically provided that Whang-Od will receive shared revenue from the income generated from the project. As proof, her niece Estela opened a bank account where the proceeds from this project would be sent. The contract’s terms are standard for all Nas Academy agreements, containing fair and legally sound terms that are fair to both parties.
“Nas Academy is on a mission to help everyone become a teacher. We engaged with Whang-Od and her family in order to support them during these difficult times. COVID-19 has had a negative impact on tourism for everyone, including Whang-Od. Therefore, we wanted the family to be able to share their culture with the world and be able to sustain themselves on the Internet until this pandemic has ended.
“We were ready to cooperate with the Regional Office of the NCIP in its investigation. But Nas Academy was not given the chance to explain its side before arriving at a conclusion and releasing a statement. This is not how a fair investigation is held. Both sides must be heard to reach a fair and informed conclusion.
“We regret the inconvenience made to the public. We think this issue is the result of internal disputes that are outside of our control. That being said, we remain committed to our mission in the Philippines.”
In a press statement by the NCIP on Aug. 17, NCIP-CAR Regional Director Atty. Marlon Bosantog headed to Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga to personally interview Maria Oggay popularly known as “Apo Whang-od” and her family, and the elders and leaders of the issues involving Nas Daily Academy.
The controversy started when Whang-od’s grandniece Grace Palicas alleged that Nas Daily’s Whang Od Academy is a “scam.”
GMA News journalist Shai Lagarde then shared a story about how the foreign content creator insulted Filipinos.
Then the founder of The Cacao Project, Louise Emmanuelle De Guzman Mabulo, came out as she identified herself as witness to Nas “mocking” Filipino farmers.
She even deemed Nas “exploitative” and “fueling a neocolonialist narrative using our need for foreign validation;” and that people like the said social media influencer represent the “new wave of colonialism.”
However, Nas was quick to slam Louise and even advised her that she should be truthful about her work.
Then beauty queen-turned-TV host-actress Kylie Verzosa has belied the allegation of controversial Palestinean-Israeli video blogger over the achievement of Cacao Project founder.