By James Relativo
Students, professors and various media groups called for the permanent removal of television host Willie Revillame’s show, Willing Willie, after Revillame encouraged a child to humiliate himself on the show.
Journalism Professor Georgina Encanto led faculty members and students from the University of the Philippines Diliman and St. Scholastica’s College in a rally April 11 at the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) office in Makati to demand the board to impose sanctions on Revillame.
This picket is the first public rally to be done against Revillame, though many Facebook and Twitter users, including several local celebrities, had started calling for disciplinary action on Revillame immediately after the airing of the March 12 episode of Willing Willie, which featured 6-year-old Janjan, dancing like a male stripper during the show’s talent portion.
Revillame had laughed at the child, who had started crying while dancing. He gave him P10,000 after the performance and encouraged the boy to dance even more.
“It wasn’t the best time to hold a rally because classes were over and students were hard to find but we were determined to make our voices be heard on this issue,” Encanto said, adding that it was “important for the academe to be concerned about standards in the profession since it trains students who will be mass media professionals.”
Only around twenty professors and students from the College of Mass Communication and St. Scholastica’s College attended the picket.
However, KBP President Herman Basbaño still acknowledged the rally and said an investigation would be made, but emphasized the need to follow due process to ensure all sides would be represented.
Encanto said the popularity of television is a serious concern because Willing Willie and similar shows often “propagate values that exploit and create a false consciousness among the masses.”
“They make the masses believe in instant wealth instead of working hard to earn a decent living and to degrade themselves so they can be ‘given’ money by Willie Revillame and other program hosts like him,” the journalism professor said.
Willing Willie has been voluntarily off the air since April 9 after several companies pulled out their advertising placements from the show.