Xian Lim to be declared persona non grata in Albay?

Should actor Xian Lim be declared persona non grata in Albay after he refused to wear a shirt promoting the province thereby insulting its people?

According to Abdon Balde Jr., a consultant of the provincial government, the actor was invited to perform in the Fiestang Tsinoy at a huge fee. The event was held Thursday, February 19, at the Albay Astrodome.

Upon arrival at the airport, a staff of the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office gave him an Albay shirt and other items, but he refused and allegedly said:

I am not here to promote Albay!"

Balde called him rude, ill-mannered, and fake-looking Chinese.

It turned out that the staff he was referring to is Atty. Caroline Cruz, Albay governor Joey Salceda's chief of staff, who represented the provincial chief executive to hand over the gifts, a tradition that the provincial government observes with guests, according to a report on the Bicol Standard.

In her Facebook account, Atty. Cruz shared two photos that show the items that were offered to Xian.

Shanti Nacion Serrano, the person who uploaded the pictures, said they usually give such items to guests and visitors in Albay, but they were disappointed when the actor refused to accept it.

He noted that the items do not contain the words "I love Albay" and are therefore not a form of endorsement.

Xian, who is the featured voice of Paddington Bear in the movie's Philippine release, endorses Bench lifestyle and clothing.

The Filipino-Chinese-American actor, for his part, explained on Twitter that he refused to wear the shirt to avoid conflict with his clothing endorsement, ABS-CBN News reported.

His tweets read:

I just read an online article about an incident which is deeply upsetting because it doesn't tell the right story. In the article I was quoted as saying 'I am not here to promote Albay', something I never said or would ever say."

Earlier, the author of the online article handed me a coffee table book of Albay and a t-shirt to wear. My exact words to her were 'Sorry po, hindi ko maisuot yung t-shirt kasi baka magka-conflict sa clothing endorsement ko. Pasensiya na po.' Later on, someone reported her as saying 'Ayaw daw niya.' I love Albay and I am always happy to be here with its good people. I deeply apologize to Governor Salceda and the people of Albay for the misunderstanding about my reasons for refusal to wear the t-shirt."

My parents raised me to be respectful and generous to everyone, and my management has always stressed the virtues of decency and humility. I do not do drugs and have worked hard to get to where I am. If you send me the t shirt and after I have cleared it with my clothing endorsement, I would be more than happy to wear it online and on air. I am also very willing to promote the book of Albay."

Meanwhile, Governor Salceda claimed that the actor insulted his staff from the PTCAO and his fellow Albayanos, and does not deserve forgiveness.

"We expected something better from him since he is not a terrorist, instead an artist. No forgiveness deserved," he posted on his Facebook page.

Following the misunderstanding, Albayanos are now urging Xian Lim to be declared a persona non grata, the Bicol Standard reported.