UNANIMOUS. All Dapitan City councilors vote in favor of a resolution declaring news anchor Erwin Tulfo an ‘undesirable person’ during their session on May 7, 2019. Rappler photo

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – The Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council) of Dapitan on Tuesday, May 7, declared “persona non grata” news anchor and commentator Erwin Tulfo for mocking, insulting, and demeaning Dapitan and its people at a press conference during his recent visit here.

Councilors voted unanimously to pass a resolution that declared Tulfo “undesirable person.” It was authored by Councilor Jasmin Hamoy, a retired school teacher.

Last April 28, Tulfo visited Dapitan City to campaign for the party-list group Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS).

Tulfo was with former Dipolog City mayor Evelyn Uy, who is running for mayor against reelectionist Dapitan Mayor Rosalina Jalosjos, when he met local media practitioners and blurted out statements about Dapitan that angered a lot of Dapitanons.

Tulfo pointed out, among other things, that Dapitan shouldn’t be considered a city since it does not have Jollibee, it has only one bank; and that the only business establishment here is Dakak Park and Beach Resort.

“Pati ‘yung police station, gusto kong maiyak nung nakita ko. Tinanong ko ‘yung driver kung d’yan ba ‘kinulong si Rizal. Hindi naman daw. ‘Estasyon ho ng police ‘yun.’ Akala ko estasyon ng guardia civil,”he said during the press conference.

(Even the police station is pitiful. I asked the driver if it was where Jose Rizal was detained. He said no, that’s the police station. I thought it was the station for the guardia civil.)

READ: [OPINION] An open letter to Erwin Tulfo from a Dapitanon

A lot of Dapitanons were angered by Tulfo’s statements. They said Dapitan became a city because of its historical value, not because of huge commercial and industrial establishments. And they want it to remain a sleepy town to keep its nickname as the shrine city of the Philippines.

They also corrected Tulfo false information, pointing out that there are actually 4 banks in Dapitan, and that the temporary police office is the old city hall pending completion of a new police office under construction.

“Our local government, and we Dapitanons, have no plans of demolishing our old city hall, again, because of its historical value. It was constructed during the American time. And it was designed akin to the 18th century Casa Real, the residence of the Spanish governor where Jose Rizal stayed during the first few months of his exile,” a Dapitanon said.

Meanwhile, Clarita Eguia Cad, a Dapitanon who has come home from Australia for good, said in her Facebook account: “I tried as much as possible to keep away from local politics and prefer to stay on the bleachers and observe, but when I saw [the] post [about Tulfo’s statements] I was so enraged. Whatever sympathy I have for their candidates are gone! If I were at the table or on the front row audience, I would leave immediately to show that his remarks were not appreciated!”

“Bisan kinsa man pweded mangampanya, apil na si Tulfo, pero likayan unta ang paglitok ug masakit nga mga pulong nga makapasakit namo,” said Roel Bagalanon, a driver here. (Anybody can campaign, including Tulfo, but they should refrain from saying things that can hurt us.) – Rappler.com