King Palisoc's cane and 7th High incident
MANILA, Philippines - King Palisoc’s night of partying on Friday, March 22 at 7th High was cut short when he was not allowed into the club by its bouncers.
The reason? His cane.
On March 23, the day after the incident, the 28-year-old director and writer posted a status on Facebook narrating the events and expressing his anger at being unjustly singled out because of his disability.
The post has since gone viral. Commenters of the post vented their outrage over the actions of the bouncers which they deemed discriminatory against persons with disability (PWD).
Here is what Palisoc posted on Facebook:
Dear Seventh High,
Last night, I had the misfortune of not being allowed to enter your establishment because the bouncers saw my cane, and they didn't want to be held liable for anything that might happen to me inside. That is the worst kind of treatment any establishment has ever given me. I would have totally understood if your receptionist had me sign a waiver of some sort before letting me in (because that was my experience with other establishments similar to yours). Instead, your bouncers made the judgement call of asking me to step aside as they let "non-handicapped" guests in. Nice call, big boys.
Now think about this, Seventh High. If you had a customer who didn't seem disabled and your bouncers let him in, and somewhere along the way he crashes down your stairs and bumps his head on your floor, would you have been liable for what happened to him? Maybe not, because that guy would have probably had too much to drink and that's not entirely your fault.
So what the fuck is the difference between him and me? Oh that's right, my cane. Your bouncers were worried about my safety when I get inside, because I had a cane.
The thing is, I totally understand the safety measures that establishments have to implement, because you know, someone might get thrown out of the window for getting too drunk and causing trouble to your other guests. But not letting a person in for having cane? I don't know man, I could've killed on that dance floor with my killer moves. Whoops.
I am not asking for an apology from you, Seventh High, for not allowing me to "party" in your establishment because of my condition. Nor will you ever see me anywhere near your venue (obviously that is an exaggeration because I will have to pass in front of your place so I could get to other establishments, but you get the point). What you should know, though, is that I am making this letter public, so everyone can see the bullshit policy you have against disabled people. Everyone needs to know, because some don't know what it feels to be handicapped, even if we all are in some way or another.
You may be three (or seven) floors high, but you should know that we are bigger than you.
On March 25, Rappler interviewed Palisoc through Facebook chat. A freelance director and writer, he co-wrote "Babe, I Love You" starring Sam Milby and Anne Curtis in 2010, and was assistant director in 2006's "Numbalikdiwa" starring Albert Martinez and Maricel Soriano. He is also known for directing music video for Filipino artists and bands, among them Pupil ("Teacher's Pet"), Sponge Cola ("Wala Kang Katulad"), and Rico Blanco ("Yugto").
Palisoc recounted how he and his friends headed to 7th High to attend the after-party of British band Bloc Party who were in Manila for a concert.
His friend knew someone who could get them in the club, a popular partying destination in Bonifacio Global City.
At the club's entrance, Palisoc and his friends lined up. Palisoc was carrying his walking cane, which has been his companion since college days. He was 3 or 4 years old when a bacterial infection reached his leg bones. He had to wear a brace in grade school and a crutch in high school, before resorting to a cane in college.
Palisoc narrated to Rappler, “At the entrance, my friends were actually let in. I was right behind them when we were about to enter. Right at the moment they saw me, they stopped me, looked at my cane, and asked why I had the cane.
“I was straight to the point. Told them ‘May pilay ako, bakit?’ (I have a disability, why?)”
The bouncers then looked at each other and asked which event Palisoc and his friends were going to. After the Bloc Party event was mentioned, one of the bouncers said they couldn’t allow Palisoc to enter.
“I was asking why,” recounted Palisoc. “My friends who were witnessing what was happening told the bouncers that it was okay, and that I had no problems with walking.”
“Then the bouncer said something like ‘Eh parang kanina nga para kayong natapilok eh (But a while ago it looked like you tripped).’”
After that, Palisoc said the bouncers insinuated that they didn’t want to be held liable if something bad were to happen to Palisoc in the club. Though Palisoc could not remember the exact words of the bouncers, he said, “Basically that was the message that came across.”
A few moments later, the bouncers were told that the party was almost over and that the band members were about to leave the club.
Though his friends were insisting that Palisoc be let in, he decided against pursuing the matter anymore.
“I just told them it wasn’t worth it,” said Palisoc.
The next morning, Palisoc wrote and posted his now widely-read Facebook status.
Asked why he decided to take his cause to social media, Palisoc said, “I wanted to get it out there, simply because I wanted people to find out what happened. It was bad service, and I think people deserve to know that.”
7th High responds
Five hours after Palisoc posted his status at 2:41 pm, he received an email from 7th High general manager Jason Paul Malajacan.
Below is Malajacan's letter:
Dear Mr. Palisoc,
On behalf of the Seventh HIGH management, please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience you have experienced in respect to what have happened last night.
We, at Seventh HIGH, strongly acknowledge the satisfaction in close association with the convenience and protection of our patrons, unfortunately the management including the receptionists wasn’t (sic) aware of what had transpired. This has never happened to us before since we have catered guests (sic) with similar conditions in the past as stated in our PWD policy. In such cases, we have a waiver form to be given by our receptionists and to be filled up by guests with disabilities. Unfortunately, our bouncers made a wrong judgment call and failed to endorse you to our receptionists. That being said, we will investigate thoroughly and take action to ensure that this will never happen again.
I would like to sit down and meet with you in the future to seek suggestions on how we can make the experience more convenient and pleasurable to guests in similar condition. We feel that you’re in the best position to understand and give us a better idea on how we can improve our policies regarding this matter. Please let me know if you would consider meeting up so we could delve in this subject personally.
Once again, on behalf of the Seventh HIGH, I deeply apologize and I am looking forward in forming amity beyond this misunderstanding.
Jason Paul Malajacan
Palisoc has accepted Malajacan’s invitation to meet with him to discuss ways of improving the club’s policies for persons with disability. Palisoc said they are scheduled to meet sometime this week.
Policies for PWD
According to Republic Act No 9442, or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, far from discriminating against persons with disability, establishments must treat them with privilege.
Item 6.2 of the law says:
"A minimum of at lease twenty percent (20%) discount on admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, carnivals, and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement such as but not limited to museum, exhibit halls, fairs, parks like theme parks and shall be granted for the exclusive use or enjoyment of persons with disability." - Rappler.com