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‘Not intentional’: Barangay officials apologize over ‘lugaw’ incident

Jairo Bolledo
‘Not intentional’: Barangay officials apologize over ‘lugaw’ incident

RICE PORRIDGE. Photo of the lugaw store, which became viral after authorities apprehended the store owner and delivery riders on March 30, 2021.

Photo by Marvin Ignacio

(1st UPDATE) The apology comes several days after the viral 'lugaw' incident on March 30

After the controversial “Lugaw is not essential” video that took over the internet on March 31, barangay officials involved in the controversy issued a public apology on Friday, April 2. 

In a video posted on Facebook, Pez Raymundo, the woman in the viral video who factored into the commotion with delivery riders and a food store owner, said the incident was “not intentional” and she was “just tired” that day. 

Iyon po ay hindi intensyunal dahil po late na ng madaling araw ‘yun. Napagod din po siguro ako, nagkamali po ako sa pagpili ng salita na hindi po akma sa aking pinapaliwanag kay Marvin (That is not intentional because it was already late that day. Perhaps, I was tired and I’ve mistaken the words I used to explain to Marvin),” Raymundo said in the video. 

Raymundo is the Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) desk officer of Barangay Muzon in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, was referring to Grab rider Marvin Ignacio. She, along with some barangay tanod (village guards) apprehended the delivery riders and store owner on March 30.

She also issued an apology to Marvin Ignacio, the delivery rider who took the viral video.

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Sa ’yo Marvin, kung na-offend ka doon sa aking nabanggit, ako ay humihingi ng paumanhin. Kasama na rin po doon ‘yung may-ari ng establishment and doon sa mga Grab drivers,” Raymundo added.

(To you, Marvin, I’m sorry if you got offended. I also apologize to the owner of the establishments and the Grab drivers.)

Barangay Muzon Chairman Marciano Gatchalian also said in the video that he always orients barangay officials and staff to observe maximum tolerance. 

Lagi ko pong pinapaalala sa kanila na maging magalang, tama ang approach at pakikipag-usap. Lagi pong may maximum tolerance. Iyan po’y hindi po nawawala sa aking briefing upang sa gayo’y po’y hindi po mao-offend ang mga taong mapag-implementahan,” Gatchalian said. 

(I always remind them to be polite in communicating with people. There should always be maximum tolerance. That is always part of my briefing to ensure that our constituents will not be offended.)

Another conflict

In another Facebook Live video posted on April 1, Ignacio cried for help after allegedly being harassed by two barangay officials who were serving a closure order to the lugaw store. 

Sana po matulungan ninyo kami. Pinagiinitan na naman ‘yung Lugaw Pilipinas. May nagpunta po doon, tama po ba ‘yun? Pasensya na po ha, kasi natatakot talaga ako…. Baka saktan nila ako kasi ang tatapang nila eh,” Ignacio said. 

(Please help us. They’ve been targeting Lugaw Pilipinas. Two men went there, is that even right? I’m sorry, I’m just scared. They’re so fierce.) 

Kahina-hinala ‘yung galaw nila. Wala silang kasamang barangay tanod, wala silang [police] mobile. Naka-motor lang talaga sila, tapos ang gusto nila isara ‘yung tindahan kasi mayroon daw silang memo na pinapakita,” Ignacio added. 

(They were acting suspicious. They were not accompanied by village guards, no police mobile either. They were riding a motorcycle, and they insisted to close down the store because they claimed they have a memo to show us.) 

In the video uploaded by Barangay Muzon on April 2, Gatchalian invited Rudy Bernardino, Team Leader of Barangay Muzon Annex 1 and 2 and Tomohiro Aoki, the two men that Ignacio was pertaining to in the Facebook Live video. 

Handa po akong harapin kung anuman ang pagkakamali ko, sanction ng ating kapitan. Muli po, pasensiya na po (I am ready to face all the consequences of my actions and the sanction of our chairman. Again, I’m sorry),” Bernardo apologized to Ignacio after the recent incident. 

Lugaw controversy

On Wednesday, Ignacio’s video became viral after the incident with Raymundo, who questioned the operations of the lugaw store and said that “lugaw is not essential.”

In an interview with Rappler, Ignacio said he had to leave their house in San Jose del Monte due to fear that some officials might get back at him. 

The Philippine National Police said on April 1 that all food including lugaw are essential if “legitimately delivered.”

“The position of the PNP is that ANY KIND OF FOOD that is legitimately delivered upon orders by residents during the period of ECQ in the NCR Bubble is considered as part of essential goods,” PNP said in a statement. 

Even Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque himself made it clear that the food is deemed essential. 

“Lugaw, or any food item for that matter, is considered an essential good. Delivery of food items must remain unhampered 24/7. Huwag natin harangin sa (Let’s not block food deliveries at) checkpoints,” Roque said in a statement on March 31. – Rappler.com

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.