A now-deleted Facebook post of voice talent and online personality Inka Magnaye attempting to poke fun at her viral comment about bike lanes last year earned flak for how it used arrests as humor.
The content creator on Tuesday posted a now-deleted picture of her getting “arrested” by transport blogger and host James Deakin in a police costume on a walkway in Bonifacio Global City.
She initially captioned it as: “Actual Police Officer James Deakin in all his authority finally arrested me for being against bike lanes.”
It was later edited as: “In case it wasn’t obvious: This is a joke (facepalm emoji) James ISN’T an actual police officer and I’M NOT AGAINST BIKE LANES, plzzzz (loudly crying emoji) Actual Police Officer James Deakin in all his authority finally arrested me for being against bike lanes.”
Inka’s Facebook post earned 15,000 likes and laughing reactions and over 250 comments before it was removed.
While majority of those on Facebook were amused, some online users on Twitter were more critical of the voice talent.
Among the points they raised was her use of the concept of getting “arrested” in an attempt to poke fun at her comment on James’ post last December.
“So they thought, having a rich white personality wear a blue collar traffic enforcer’s uniform as a costume is funny, belittling people getting arrested for trumped up charges is funny, failing to provide safe infrastructure is funny. Sorry na lang, I don’t get the humor,” a Twitter user wrote.
“Funny raw kasi it’s unthinkable for someone to be arrested for something so ridiculous, it would never happen in reality,” the online user added in the replies thread.
“Yeah, yeah, you were being sarcastic, but how many people have died under the hands of police enforcers, Inka? Sarcasm is the last f**king thing on our minds. Do better,” another Twitter user wrote.
“Joking about being arrested… and for an issue a few months back is both insensitive and such a weird hill to die on,” a different Pinoy tweeted.
“Arrest jokes?! In this political climate?! Clout is a disease,” wrote another Twitter user.
“Arrest jokes in these times? Shut the f**k up, Miss Inka,” columnist Timothy James Sampang commented.
Spate of arrests vs activists, unionists
The country has seen more activists and human rights workers and advocates arrested by uniformed personnel since the Duterte administration.
A global civil society alliance said it continues under the new administration, saying that activists “continue to be criminalized.”
Last Monday, University of the Philippines professor Melania Flores, a former All UP Academic Employees Union president, was arrested by the police from her home for supposedly violating the Social Security Act of 2018.
Melania said she was unaware of the charges, adding that she had never received a subpoena to attend any hearing before the arrest.
She believes the arrest was “politically motivated” and an attack against union leaders.
Nine individuals were also arrested in Northern Luzon on supposed charges of rebellion or insurrection on January 30.
Among them was Jennifer Awingan, researcher for the Baguio-based progressive Cordillera Peoples Alliance, and Niño Oconer, a correspondent for Northern Dispatch.
Their families were clueless about who filed the charges while those arrested were unaware of the “trumped up” charges against them.
Last Monday, media groups renewed calls to release Tacloban-based journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio three years after being detained for supposed charges of illegal possession of guns and explosives.
“Frenchie Mae’s arrest and continued detention demonstrate the persistent attacks against independent journalists in the country,” a joint statement by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, AlterMidya and the International Association of Women in Radio and Television–Philippines said.
“The attacks are aimed at intimidating and silencing those who are critical in their reportage,” it added.
Inka to critics: ‘Sarcasm’
Inka has now deleted her Facebook post featuring her getting “arrested” by James.
“I hope I’ve made the caption sarcastic enough to show that this is a joke Edit: ‘Di ata pwede sarcasm dito,” she wrote in the comments before taking down the post.
“And I woulda gotten away with it, too!! If it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!” the voice talent quipped in another comment.
Inka later on wished for Filipinos to have a “good morning” following her now-deleted post.
“My wish for this beautiful Wednesday morning is that we get used to asking questions before resorting to throwing hate,” she wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
“Uncomfortable feelings of sadness or anger are normal and valid, but changes and connections can happen when we start conversations and seek understanding (red heart emoji). Good morning! Have a good one!” the voice talent added.
The bike lane issue
Last December, Inka gained online buzz for commenting on James’ Facebook post where he shared a link to his December 19 blog “What to do with the bike lanes?”
“What do you suggest? I’d love to hear your opinions,” he wrote as a caption.
James suggested redesigning bike lanes to become “truly segregated and safe” for cyclists, or else just scrap them altogether in favor of cars.
He also suggested turning bike lanes into dedicated motorcycle lanes instead if the situation remains.
“Now before I go on, let me just make it clear that I do support the need for cycling lanes and I really wish this was it,” James wrote, noting that he’s a cyclist himself.
“But this is not how we want the lanes to be, and forcing us to use this is like painting on a bulletproof vest,” he added.
Inka was among those who shared her opinion following James’ post. She replied with this now-deleted comment:
“I’ve been so annoyed at these ‘bike lanes’. They didn’t create extra space, it was just carved out of a car lane. So they still share it with cars or trucks. It still isn’t safe for riders. When we need to drive past a bicycle on the service road, we still have to counterflow a bit, or they have to squeeze themselves closest to the sidewalk. It’s such a bandaid solution, and it isn’t even a fresh bandaid.”
The voice talent earned mixed reactions at that time, with some people thinking she was really against bike lanes.
“Inka Magnaye with a sh*t take. Never thought I’d see the day. LMAO,” a Twitter user reportedly said before.
Others, however, said it was a matter of a “reading comprehension problem” since she said that bike lanes “still isn’t safe for riders.”
“I’m not really an Inka Magnaye fan but her comment was clearly calling out the sh*t construction [of] our roads and how the badly implemented bike lanes are a danger for both [cars] and bikes and that bikers deserve better,” a Twitter user said before.
Another online user shared a picture of a walkway created for cyclists and pedestrians as a way to explain what Inka said.
“Eto ‘yung gustong sabihin ni Inka Magnaye na sana may bike lane na hiwalay sa highway kagaya sa Japan para ligtas ang mga bikers. Kaso ‘yung mga engineers ng gobyerno ayaw gumawa ng paraan para magkaroon ng matinong bike lanes,” he wrote.
Eto yung gustong sabihin ni Inka Magnaye na sana may bike lane na hiwalay sa highway kagaya sa Japan para ligtas ang mga bikers. Kaso yung mga engineers ng gobyerno ayaw gumawa ng paraan para magkaroon ng matinong bike lanes. pic.twitter.com/7E1np9uxNS
— Christopher Ryan B. Cabrera (@Kagemuyo) December 22, 2022
Last year, calls to increase and improve bike lanes in the country were made online after a polling firm revealed that there were more bike owners than car owners in Metro Manila.
There are existing bike lanes in the metro but cyclists perceived them as inaccessible and dangerous.
A bike commuter previously said that the lanes dedicated to them are commonly “used by motorists,” used as parking by vehicles, are “too narrow for bicycle[s] to access” or have “rough patches,” among others.
An example is a bike lane in Quezon City which social media users joked appeared to be a location of Platform 9 3/4, a portal in the fictional “Harry Potter” series.
Another example is a narrow bike lane spotted by Miss Cebu 2016 Gabriele Raine Balja while crossing the bridge from Bonifacio Global City to Mandaluyong City on foot.
Last month, the Department of Transportation said that it is set to improve walkways and bike lanes across Metro Manila after its program was approved by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
The program includes improvement in road configuration, “widening of pedestrian walkways and protected bi-directional bike lanes.”
“The project forms part of the DOTr and the Department of Public Works and Highways joint partnership aimed at enhancing the overall active transport infrastructure along EDSA — particularly in Santolan, Ortigas, and Shaw,” the DOTr said before.
The transportation agency said it is committed to executing the strategies in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, wherein pedestrians and cyclists will be accorded the highest priority in the hierarchy of road users.