MANILA, Philippines -- WE discover them in video games, prime time shows, sporting events, reality shows, international movies, and usually amidst fanfare. We cheer them on and vote for them when needed.
We add them as friends and follow them on twitter. Every time they do something remarkable we stand proud. When they falter, get eliminated or fail, we offer them support.
This is how a Filipino fan shows his or her admiration for a Filipino talent based overseas, who happens to be under the limelight. Our support is genuine, generous and heartfelt. Even for those lucky few who starts off on youtube, and ends up on OPRAH or ELLEN!
Our local media is quick to jump on this opportunity to introduce these newly found idols to the general public. Often the local networks engage in bidding wars just to call them a “Kapamilya or Kapuso”. They go as far as to teach the new foreign-based idols how to sing, dance and speak Filipino. A strategic move that endears the new Kapamilya, Kapuso or Kapatid to their viewers, and few of them line the billboards of EDSA and SLEX. They have arrived!
To some of the local media reporters, our beloved Azkals are an example of over night success. Unknown to most of them, it took years of support, training and living in anonymity before the local media even took notice. The die hard few can recall the days when Ceburoo, Mike Limpag , Big Jack, and others created discussion forums about the Azkals. Only the true blues know about the despicable character known to diehards as PW.
We can recall the days when this half baked weirdo stalked the local forums, and even created his own website. He attacked the Azkals, the PFF and fans by using numerous pseudonyms and aliases, only to be given away by his consistent murdering of the English language, thus becoming his internet finger print. To this day he would troll the pages as Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter with the same dumb wit remarks and verbal assaults. He claims to have discovered all the foreign based azkals, and even declared himself as the “Official PFF European Consultant”! What a jerk!
Two years in the making, the sudden rise of the Azkals from pre paid write ups, to cover pages of magazines, billboards, and commercials have begun. You can find different version of the Azkals logo on shirt designs, screen savers and avatars.
With success comes intrigue. The latest being an alleged sexual harassment during the Philippines vs Malaysia friendly a few weeks back. The intention of the alleged harassment complainant, and the timing of the release of the complaint have been put into question, together with the character and reputation of the Azkals.
The allegation grew from alleged sexual harassment to a cry to punish the entire Azkals squad and PFF officials. The personality in question hit the local media circuit and newspapers imploring justice be done. They convicted the Azkals in the eyes of the public. Threw the book at them, and even told some of them never to come back to the Philippines.
Now a new personality has emerged. A so-called fighter for women’s rights, whose character is ironically cartooned by a puppet in a morning news show. He was so adamant in his display of hatred that he flung libellous and racial remarks, and worst yet, he dignified this by claiming outright that these foreign born Azkals are not FILIPINOS, and are only pretending to be one of us?
He put into question the Philippine constitution that defines us, and our way of life. He belittled the modern heroes of our economic growth (the OFW’s) by suggesting that you lose your citizenship once you inter racially marry and give birth on foreign land! He tried to define and create his own law pertaining to PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP.
The same person who claims to be an expert in Philippine Citizenship and sexual harassment, is the same person who begged for understanding when he purportedly fathered a child of a rape victim he once interviewed. Although he vehemently denied doing so, he dared to be subjected to a DNA test. That to this day never happened. I am sure time will tell all AC! Maybe we should ask the puppet?
This person trended on twitter for a few days, and graced the pages of Facebook, Yahoo and Youtube. Him and his cohorts are now a subject of a complaint lodged by the PFF. The only governing body in football that has the responsibility to investigate the alleged incident which happened inside the Azkals men’s locker room. This has already been acted upon and investigation is ongoing.
This person is none other than the new PW of Philippine football, AC (Arnold Clavio). The sudden pulling of all videos of evidence on Youtube is a clear indication that something big is going to happen soon!
I am sure AC never expected the hate Tweets, Facebook postings, and even petitions to fire him from GMA-7. The arrogance of AC during his outburst was only overshadowed by the dumb wit mestiza co-hostesses, that by AC’s own definition are not Filipino and only pretending to be kayumanggi on local TV! One of them is the daughter of a Chinese immigrant. Ironically the name ARNOLD CLAVIO is not an indigenous Filipino first and last name.
Dressed in an American inspired suit, this dogmatic representative of women’s rights, flamboyantly displayed the character unfamiliar to Filipinos. We are humble, generous, and family oriented people, very new in the concept of democracy and freedom of speech. Philippine democracy was only recently rediscovered through People Power! Which begs the question. Arnold Clavio, where were you during the EDSA revolution?
I can summarise Arnold Clavios tirade in one word, RACIST! The outpour of comments about his out burst, did not come from football or Azkal fans alone. Some used foul language, others were more timid, and pleaded for patience and understanding. But most of us agree, that the comments made by a certain AC were “racist, discriminatory, libellous and malicious” (as per the PFF letter of complaint). To me it was just F&^*(&G STUPID!)
In this day and age, how can somebody who purportedly is an educated person, with a puppet as an alter ego, claim to have the balls to call out the citizenship of our national athletes? In one outburst he verbally assaulted the parents of these boys, questioned the Philippine Constitution, called the PFF "cheaters", and fingered his nose at FIFA for accepting our Philippine AZKALS Mens National team, as our representatives to the AFC Challenge Cup.
What AC did not expect is that Filipinos treasure their citizenship. We are proud to be Filipinos. We might have migrated to another country or even married a foreigner, but we will always be Filipinos.
Most Foreign based Filipino parents are proud of their heritage and culture. Most of us become balikbayans, and ever acquire dual citizenship. Our undying love for our country is handed down to our children. Some of our children are fortunate enough to become football players, singers, boxers, tennis stars, golf heroes, and even basketball icons. Some become government officials and even successful business men and women. Case in point will be too numerous to mention.
When our citizenship is questioned, the very fabric of our existence is questioned, and so is our decision to serve our country. The motivation of being a national athlete, and having the privilege to wear the colors of our country is deeper than recognition, money of fame. Our national athletes go about doing what they love, for the country that they love, and will die for.
Arnold Clavio, and others like him will never understand or comprehend this passion. He has never been in the battlefield, where winning is not always the ultimate reward, compared to the honor of representing your country.
It goes beyond the financial sacrifices an athlete makes, or a parent has to shoulder. Some of our athletes may be half breeds, mixed breeds, of different color, or birthplace, but we are all FILIPINO’s. We are proud to wear the colors of our flag and country. We will Battle and Bleed to the very end for the "Perlas ng Silangan''.
Philippine football is currently at an “inflection point”. It will either grow in popularity, or just be a trending topic on twitter. In my humble opinion, it will explode exponentially. Why? We found our heroes and idols in the sport. Our idols are the AZKALS and the MALDITAS. These mixed breed of locally bred Filipino Footballer, and foreign bred kickers, got their monikers from our football heroes…. THE FANS!
Arnold Clavio when you attack the Azkals you attack the fans. The PFF did not give the Men’s or Women’s National team their moniker. The diehard fans who endured years of anonymity, insults, and intrigue, named the team AZKALS and MALDITAS! You question them? You question us! You insult the AZKALS? You insult us! I promise you, the “US” are more than your supporters! You picked a fight you cannot win.
You are now facing the consequences of your arrogance, ignorance? In my opinion, you are not a bad person. Misinformed maybe? Ignorant? Definitely ARROGANT! It is ironic that in your clamor to defend a person, you verbally assaulted the mothers of the Azkals, and racially declared them as not being FILIPINOS.
What gave you the right to do so is beyond my comprehension. Only you can explain why you felt the need to question the citizenship of our Azkals, the up bringing and the color of their skin, as reason for the alleged sexual harassment you were reporting.
I was flabbergasted to watch your female cohorts who sat there, and listened as you belittled Filipinas for admiring the Azkals. Even throwing in sexcapades, and the need for penicillin? You generalised the Filipina fan for throwing themselves at the beckoning of the Azkals. Them include! Yet they ignorantly supported your rant, not knowing you slapped them on their face!
In an attempt to redeem himself, AC released a statement asking for understanding, and again pointing out that what he was reporting was the alleged harassment complaint. He apologized if he insulted anybody with his choice of words.
Basically he told all of us that we are stupid for not getting the point, or understanding the punch line. Well AC, your future is the PUNCH LINE, in the comedy of embarrassing mistakes you displayed over the past few days. You went from being parodied as a puppet, literally by an alleged sexual harassment complaint, to being plastered as a racist and libellous.
I’ll end with this posting I recently read. “ Mr. Clavio, you should be thankful na nalahian tayo ng mga players na ito. Dahil kung puro pag mumukha mo nalang ang makikita sa Pilipinas, di mamundok nalang tayong lahat (excerpt from www.PEP.ph/news
If you are embarrassed for what the Azkals "allegedly" did, then you need to look in mirror, and watch your racial rant on GMA-7 again. Get a hammer and hit yourself on the head a few times. Maybe you will find it in you to apologize to the mothers you insulted, to our idols, the AZKALS, and to the millions of Filipinas you insulted.
Better yet, show up at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium for the next Azkals home game, and let the fans decide what to do with you, just like what you have been doing to the AZKALS!
*Ernie Nierras is the head coach of the Philippine Women's National Football Team as well as UFL Division 1 side, Stallion Gilligan's FC.