Sunday, October 24, 2021

Nas Academy Formally Apologizes to Whang-od and Reconciles with Buscalan Community

Everyone can now say farewell to the Nas Academy and Whang-od controversy. The two camps have buried the hatchet. So it seems. On October 24, representatives from the online learning platform which was founded by the vlogger Nas Daily made a formal apology to Whang-od and her Butbut community. The meeting was held in barangay Buscalan in Tinglayan, Kalinga. Also present at the affair are officials of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples - Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR) who arranged the meeting.

A feast was held and all parties partook as a symbol of the successful reconciliation.

If you recall, back in early August, Nas Daily and his online academy were bombarded with criticism when Whang-od's niece Grace Palicas tagged the academy's Whang-od course as a "scam". Palicas claimed that her grandmother did not provide her consent to the course. Because of the online backlash, Nas Academy immediately took down the course and released a statement saying that Whang-od did give her consent. As proof, Nas Academy uploaded a video of Whang-od affixing her thumbprint onto a document - the contract.

NCIP-CAR intervened and launched an investigation into the issue. They later concluded that the tattoo artist did not consent to the course. The commission said that Nas Academy did not fully explain or discuss the provisions of the contract to Whang-od. The validity of Whang-od's thumbmark on the contract was also questioned by the commission.

Through Kalinga Congressman Allen Jesse Mangaoang, the Butbut elders requested that the erroneous contract be declared null and void. Nas Academy's legal representatives affirmed the request.

In a statement released after the meeting, the NCIP stated that "it was good that the Nas Academy came over to convey their apology to the Butbut ICCs/IPs of Buscalan regarding the misunderstanding among the company, community, and Whang-Od family." "The community through their elders thanked the Nas Academy for their sincere apology and requested that for the next time, they must follow the procedure since the art of tattooing is not practiced by the Butbut ICCs/IPs alone", the statement added.

For their part, Atty. Joji Alonso, a member of the Nas Academy legal team, promised that Nas Academy will always strive for truth and fairness in all their endeavors.

File photo courtesy of Kayleen Kwet.