QUEZON CITY (MindaNews / 01 April) — From a certain angle, President Duterte’s sarcasm “ka libog mo” (you are full of libido!) could be viewed as an outburst. It was expressed during PRRD’s 9th visit to the Province of Sulu on March 26, 2018.
The President was in Jolo, the Province’s capital, to officially accept the surrender of more than 600 firearms from local officials and civilians. It included the physical surrender of alleged Abu Sayyaf members to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
That sarcasm came out from PRRD’s mouth spontaneously. He cracked a joke about soldiers who have many wives and children despite that they could not provide them good life; yet they kept gallivanting around with other women during their tour of duty. “Ka libog mo,” Mayor Digong kidded mockingly.
“What if you die? Who will take care of your children?” the President revealed his concern on potential bereaved families of fallen soldiers.
Meantime, local chief executives and other Sulu officials who attended the meeting must have tasted a day of their lives when President Duterte banged the podium with his hand while spewing out invectives. He was simply separated with hundreds of surrendered high caliber weapons from those Sulu leaders.
It was rare for leaders of Bangsa Sug known for their warrior tradition being pontificated by someone higher than themselves. If it was done by fellow Tausug to another, that could trigger a melee of formidable consequences.
Understandably, Mayor Digong would have to exercise caution and express contrition as well: “hindi ako galit sa inyo” (I am not angry at you). He should know that Tausugs, maverick as they were, are very sensitive to insult that could come from out-of-context invectives.
While “p#$&^? ina mo” is usual expression among Pinoys, Tausug’s“b&%$# hi inah mu” is only expressed during crass situation by “classless” ones. Among Tausug, it is taboo to spew invective in public especially if it is intended to insult someone. It could be a cause of instant war or “pagbunuan” and “rido” (feud).
But if the context is clear and is done with the finesse that it is only Digong who can deliver it with ease, the sensitivity could be positively transformed to entertainment and elicit a wide applause.
And if one is creative enough, “ka libog mo” as sarcastic expression of PDu30 could be understood as a Freudian reading of the Sulu problem that is essentially entangled with “libog” (libido) and power (kusug).
In Bahasa Sug, libido is “bais” like the Filipino/Bisayan term “libog.” There is a closer Tausug word “latug” which is physiologically distinct from “bais.” Whereas “bais” is subliminal, “latug” is instantaneous.
When “bais” wanes, a person reduces intermittently his “latug” and so his “kusug.” Incidentally, both Tausug and Bisayah used the word “kusug” for power – not the Filipino “lakas.”
Mayor Digong used the word “libog” while expressing displeasure on firearms as these are not real sources of “kusug” since they only kill and maim. Whereas women are, in his reading, the “real” sources for men to supposedly express their power – not necessarily in terms of gender domination but through love and affection.
[MindaViews is opinion section of MindaNews. Julkipli Wadi is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines].