Gloria Diaz banned in Cebu, declared persona non grata for supposedly belittling Cebuanos’ English-speaking ability
Saksi video: Cebu local government executives want Gloria Diaz declared "persona non grata"
Gloria Diaz has been banned in Cebu for supposedly belittling the English-speaking ability of Cebuanos, reported Manila Bulletin on September 1. Through a resolution issued by the Cebu chapter of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines, Diaz was declared persona non grata (personally unacceptable) in the province. The league’s resolution also includes a demand for a public apology from Diaz.
The Miss Universe 1969 said the controversial statement last week, following the "major major" answer of the Philippines’ Venus Raj, who was this year’s fourth runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant. Diaz told TV Patrol World, "I think (Venus) thinks in Tagalog and answers in English. I can relate to that because I used to think in English and answer in Tagalog, and it was very difficult for me... When you think about (it), a Cebuana can hardly speak English and, of course, Tagalog. Maybe she should answer in Bisaya."
Cebuanos from all over the world reportedly took offense at Diaz’s comment, Cebu City Rep. Rachel Del Mar said in a Sun.Star report. "Diaz, who once brought glory to this proud nation, has awakened a sleeping giant: Cebuanos’ strong aversion to anti-Cebuano insulting remarks," Del Mar said in a privilege speech on August 31. "I therefore call on Diaz to issue a sincere public apology to the Cebuano people." Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia also demanded a public apology from Diaz, reports Manila Bulletin.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News on August 28, Diaz said she never meant to insult Cebuanos. "People should have the right to say or to answer (questions) in whatever language they want to say it in. If they’re Cebuanos, they can say it in Cebuano. I did not say that they did not speak English. If you’re Ilocano, say it in Ilocano. But if you’re Ilocano who speaks good English, say it in English. If you’re a Cebuano comfortable speaking in Spanish, say it in Spanish," PEP.ph quoted Diaz.
"I was shocked. Everybody was so angry. I thought they were going to stone me to death," Diaz said with a laugh, according to PEP.ph.