Nas Academy ‘apologizes, reconciles’ with Whang-od’s community —NCIP

Published October 24, 2021, 10:43 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The controversy involving country’s revered and oldest mambabatok Apo Whang-od and Nas Academy, the online ed-tech platform of Palestinian-Israeli vlogger Nuseir Yassin also known as Nas Daily, has finally been put to rest.

The Philippines’ revered and oldest mambabatok Apo Whang-od (NCIP Facebook page)

This, after Nas Academy paid a visit to Maria Oggay, popularly known as Apo Whang-od, and the Butbut Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) in Barangay Buscalan in the municipality of Tinglayan, Kalinga “to formalize their reconciliation,” the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) said Sunday, Oct. 24.

The NCIP, an attached agency of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said the issue was resolved using “the Customary Laws and Practices on conflict resolution, healing, and reconciliation.”

“It was good that the Nas Academy came over to convey their apology to the Butbut ICCs/IPs of Buscalan regarding the misunderstanding among the company, community, and Whang-Od family,” the Commission said in a statement posted on its Facebook page on Sunday.

The NCIP said it arranged the customary process after the Nas Academy team’s meeting with Whang-od and her community in Buscalan, Kalinga.

The meeting was attended by all parties including Apo Whang-Od, her family, IP Elders and community members, as well as representatives from the NCIP and Nas Academy.

“After meeting with the Nas Academy team and hearing their side, it was decided to finally put this issue to rest by using the Customary Laws and Practices on conflict resolution, healing, and reconciliation,” the NCIP said.

“The community through their elders thanked the Nas Academy for their sincere apology and requested that for the next time, they must follow the procedure since the art of tattooing is not practiced by the Butbut ICCs/IPs alone,” it added.

In August, the NCIP through its Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Regional Office together with Kalinga Provincial Office, probed and validated reports on supposed IP Rights violation, specifically on the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) requirement on Community Intellectual Rights of the Kalinga ICCs/IPs.

As lead advocate of the rights and welfare of the ICCs/IPs, the NCIP through the Office on Education, Culture, and Health (OECH) and the Office of Empowerment and Human Rights (OEHR) is tasked to ensure that the Rights to Cultural Integrity of our ICCs/IPs are recognized, respected, promoted, and protected.

During the community meeting , NCIP Chairperson Allen A. Capuyan stressed that using the Customary Laws and Practices in resolving conflict is restorative and is punitive, allowing both parties to achieve healing and reconciliation.

Meanwhile, Kalinga Lone District Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang expressed and “reinforced” the request of Whang-od’s community and tribal elders that the contract signed by Apo Whang-Od with Nas Academy be declared null and void.

The NCIP said the request “was affirmed by the Nas Academy lawyers,” led by Atty. Joji Alonso.

Quoting Alonso, the NCIP said the Nas Academy “will always strive for truth and fairness in all their endeavors” and that “they intended to teach by example.”

The Commission said the meeting “ended with the partaking of the shared meal hosted by Buscalan Punong Barangay Leon Baydon, as a sign of healing and reconciliation” according to the customs and tradition of the community.