MANILA, Philippines – Is Balesin Island Club’s “yaya meal” discriminatory to nannies?
For Akbayan Representative Ibarra Gutierrez, the special meal for nannies served by the members-only luxury resort “highlights deep-seated nature of economic inequality and the disparity of opportunities for the haves and the have-nots in the country.”
The private resort came under fire after former Binibining Pilipinas-World and fashion designer Maggie Wilson Consunji on Saturday, April 4, revealed in a Facebook post the Quezon resort’s “offensive” practice of serving “yaya (nanny) meals.”//
Celebrities, politicians, and wealthy people are among the resort’s frequent visitors. On February 15 this year, Senator Francis Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista got married in the exclusive resort in Quezon province. (READ: How can a 2nd ‘poorest’ senator afford a Balesin wedding?)
According to Consunji, her mother was discouraged from ordering the same dish as her son’s nanny because it was a “yaya’s meal.”
While Consunji clarifed with the resort’s management that her intention was not to prevent any guest from ordering what they want, she maintained the special meal is offensive.
“The fact that there are people who don’t want their yaya’s to eat whatever they want to is beyond me. Hence, the resort having to offer a ‘yaya’s meal.’ I still find that offensive,” Wilson-Consunji posted on her Facebook account.
Gutierrez echoed this sentiment, adding that “whether the act was done to discriminate intentionally or not, this tasteless practice and similar acts that engender differential treatments based on social status need to be stopped. We also urge zero-tolerance from the public to these kinds of practices.”
The resort responded to the controversy on Monday, April 6, saying it does not tolerate discrimination.
“In fact, if the guest or member chooses to have the Club serve the yaya tenderloin steak and lobster thermidor, we will gladly serve it to the yaya. The ‘yaya meal’ is merely an accommodation and an option for the guest for their yaya,” Mike Asperin, CEO and director of Balesin Island Club said.
Asperin added that the resort does not serve the controversial meal “if there is no instruction from the guest.”
The resort director also noted that the nannies are usually thrilled with their meals because they are “deliciously prepared” by their chefs and operating staff.
Equal opportunity bill
The Akbayan lawmaker urged employers and the public to be aware of the practices that perpetuate differential treatment based on social status and other factors, such as age, gender, ethnic identity, and religion.
Gutierrez is pushing for the passage of a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill that seeks to eliminate all forms of unfair discriminatory practices against different and marginalized sectors.
The proposed measure, House Bill 4448, is informally known as the “Equal Opportunity Bill.”
“We seek the support of Congress and the public to ensure the enactment of the bill, which is imperative in creating ‘equal opportunities’ for every individual, regardless of how the person looks, what he or she does in life or what group or identity the person ascribes to himself or herself,” Gutierrez said in a statement.
The bill has been referred to the House of Representatives committee on human rights for deliberation. –Rappler.com
Let’s discuss the issue. Do you think Balesin Island Club’s practice to serve “yaya meals” is discriminatory? Share your thoughts using the hashtag #YayaMeal.