The embattled Nas Academy finally reconciled with Kalinga tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od and the rest of her tribe months after it figured in a controversy due to its course offering.
The Facebook pages of the online academy and Nuseir Yassin (Nas Daily) himself released a video on Sunday, October 24 where their team went to Buscalan, Kalinga for the formal reconciliation process.
The clip showed how National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Nas Daily and the Butbut Tribe where Whang-Od belonged managed to settle the problem.
In Nas Daily’s post, a team went there on Friday, October 22 in an event organized by the NCIP.
“Hello from Buscalan, Kalinga! Last Friday, we visited Apo Whang-Od and the Butbut Tribe to participate in a customary reconciliation process. It was an amazing experience to be hosted by the tribal elders and community members and finally resolve our differences,” read the post.
“We’d love to share more of what happened – so take a moment to watch the video! In summary, Nas Academy entered into a discussion with the tribal elders which led to the tribe accepting our efforts of reconciliation, and then we ended off with a shared meal,” it added.
The team further thanked NCIP for the opportunity.
“We are grateful to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for organizing the event. We love the Philippines, and we are excited to continue changing lives through education,” they said.
In a separate post, the NCIP said that it arranged the reconciliation process after talks with the learning platform’s team.
“After meeting with the Nas Academy team and hearing their side, it was decided to finally put this issue to rest by using the Customary Laws and Practices on conflict resolution, healing, and reconciliation,” NCIP said.
The NCIP said that, through Office on Education, Culture, and Health and the Office of Empowerment and Human Rights, it is mandated to “ensure that the Rights to Cultural Integrity of our ICCs/IPs are recognized, respected, promoted, and protected.”
The commission also thanked the representatives of Nas Academy for their effort to make amends with the community.
“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,” NCIP said.
Last August, Nas Daily and the company he founded were accused of exploiting the Kalinga indigenous culture by Whang-Od’s grandniece.
Nas Daily himself denied the allegations, citing they had earned Whang-Od’s consent for the course offering.
Previous contract ‘null and void’
In the latest video, a Butbut tribe leader named Miguel Atumpa asked for the previous contract or memorandum of agreement (MOA) to be declared null and void.
“Pero yung MOA na napirmahan, ang gusto ng komyunidad ay null and void. Para gagawa tayo ng bagong MOA,” Atumpa said.
This request was reportedly affirmed by the learning platform’s legal team.
Nas Academy previously released a video where Whang-Od was seen inking a document with her thumb.
It was a supposed proof that she and her family consented to the creation of an online traditional tattoo course on their platform.
The clip eventually reached NCIP-Cordillera Administrative Region. It prompted them to conduct an inquiry into the course offering.
Following their recent meeting, the company expressed gratitude to NCIP and other related groups for the opportunity to resolve the misunderstanding.
“We are honored to meet with all the chiefs of the five communities of the Butbut tribe leaders of the different barangays including Buscalan Village Chief Leon Baydon through the help of NCIP. We had an open discussion in front of the whole community to understand one another, came to a resolution and then decided on how to move forward,” said Jacqueline Maye Lim, Nas Academy Head of Philippine Operations.
“We are grateful to NCIP for organizing and joining us in this gathering as well as the chairperson of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples for joining us in the trip,” Lim added.