Lawmaker’s joke to engineers: Say you know Bong Go or no PRC license

Mara Cepeda
Lawmaker’s joke to engineers: Say you know Bong Go or no PRC license
ACTS-OFW Representative John Bertiz apologizes for his 'inappropriate' remark

It’s not even funny.

ACTS-OFW Representative John Bertiz thought the new batch of agricultural and biosystems engineers would get excited if he asked them if they knew Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.

After all, Go had sent Bertiz as his proxy to the mass oath-taking of the licensure examination passers on Tuesday, September 25.

Bong Go ako nang Bong Go. Kakilala niyo ba kung sino sinasabi ko?” Bertiz was heard saying over the microphone. A social media user, who refused to be named, posted the video on Twitter. 

(I keep on saying Bong Go. But do you know who I’m talking about?)

Several people in the audience were heard saying “no.” Bertiz then tried to make a light “threat” to force them to acknowledge Go. 

O ‘wag na nating ituloy ‘to. ‘Wag na bigyan ng mga lisensiya ‘to. Ulitin ko ha: ‘Yong ‘di nakakilala kay Secretary Bong Go, walang PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) license mamaya. Sino nakakilala kay Sec Bong Go?” he said.

(Then let’s not push through with this. Don’t give them their licenses. I’ll repeat: Those who don’t know Secretary Bong Go will not get a PRC license later. So again, who knows Secretary Bong Go?) 

Another person close to the camera was still heard replying, “Wala, wala (No one, no one).”

The video of Bertiz has since gone viral, garnering around 203,000 views on Twitter as of Wednesday, September 26. Another Facebook user reposted the video and has so far gotten a total of 149,000 views for the video.

Flak online

Bertiz and Go drew flak online, with several social media users slamming the two officials for making light of the PRC license.

“With so much time, effort, money, and resources put into working for a license, you can’t just take this lightly and make fun of having a license. You absolutely cannot disrespect what they earned,” said Twitter user @MadamJo1

Bertiz apologized for his “inappropriate joke,” saying he “didn’t mean to anger, belittle, or offend in any way.”

“This is to sincerely apologize on what happened in the recent mass oath-taking ceremony of agricultural and biosystems engineers. It was meant to be a joke and was never intended to offend or degrade anyone,” said Bertiz.

He said he assumed the audience would know Go because the latter was supposed to be the event’s special guest and keynote speaker. 

His excuse for his joke? He was trying to copy stand-up comedians. 

“It was more of like, ‘Ang hindi pumalakpak, mamamatay (Those who don’t clap will die)’ kind of joke in stand-up comedies. I take full responsibility on what I have said; SAP Bong Go has nothing to do with it,” said Bertiz.

Perhaps Bertiz should be reminded he is not a comedian. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.