I say this because of an incident that happened recently.
Hotdog band was about to wrap up a lucrative deal with a reputable casino group and it involved the use of the song “Manila” which my brother, Rene Garcia & I (Dennis) created.
Sadly, the deal fell through because the prospective client found out that the lyrics of the song “Manila” was emblazoned on the casino floor of a competitive establishment.
Many people have been telling me about this but I never really found time to see it for myself.
So one day, I finally went and saw the “thing”. The core lyrics of Manila at the pricey Resorts World Manila – on display… without permission, without attribution, without remuneration and with absolutely no guilt.
I guess I wasn’t too surprised at the DISRESPECT that “Manila” got.
I’ve heard countless horror stories about the shabby treatment Pinoy musicians get at the place: the non-stop auditions and callbacks, the extremely low instrument volumes during performances (why get a band – just turn on a transistor radio, dude… same effect), the cancellation of gigs without sufficient notice, and the intrigues instigated by power-tripping low level employees.
In contrast, foreign music acts who come to perform are given super VIP treatment: exotic musical instruments when requested (a Hammond organ? a Rhodes or Wurlitzer keyboards? a 1966 Rodgers snare drum, perhaps?), exotic dressing room treats (Dom Perignon? caviar? cultured oysters from Australia?), plus other perks that spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
I was confident that because of the status of the song “Manila” – the de facto anthem of homesick Filipinos, the “must have” tune in performances of Pinoy artists abroad, the piece de resistance of roving singers in restaurants, etc. – the issue bothering me would easily be resolved.
So I wrote a letter to the President and the Chief Operating Officer of Resorts World Manila stating my case: an intellectual property was abused… a copyright was infringed – without permission, without attribution, without remuneration, and with absolutely no feelings of guilt at all.
So, the alien COO – thinking that these Filipinos are easy to appease, especially when confronted in English – decided to send a letter to me which I gladly read but did not formally receive.
In so many words, his message: oh… those words… it was just a framed piece… a temporary installation to cover a gaping hole in the wall… we can bring it down if you want.
Translated in Tagalog: Naku yon ba… yung mga titik? Pina-frame namin… at pansamantala lang talaga yon. Para matakpan ang butas sa dingding. Papatanggal namin kung gusto nyo.
I was ready to explode: utot mo… pinaghirapan naming isulat at pasikatin yan… at gagawin mo lang panakip-butas ng dingding.
They admitted their guilt… but stopped there.
No offer to right a wrong.
No hints of restitution.
They fail to understand that it doesn’t matter if the offending frame was up on the wall for one minute only or for one decade. It was copyright infringement.
It’s like rape: whether a man’s instrument was inside the orifice of a woman for 1 second or 1 hour… it STILL is rape.
Not to worry, friends, I will get this Resorts World Manila – especially its Chief Operating Officer – to issue a public apology and to pay for all damages incurred.
Mr. Panakip-butas, it isn’t about money… it’s about respecting those people you deal with called Pinoy musicians who are not dumb and submissive.
And certainly not scared shitless of white people.
Here’s the latest incarnation of the song