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‘The Stepdaughters’ draws ire from physical therapists for ‘masahista’ line

By: - Content Strategist
/ 03:45 PM September 10, 2018

Image: Instagram/@lovelyabella

An episode of GMA 7’s afternoon soap opera “The Stepdaughters” which aired on Aug. 27 showed Samantha Lopez’s character referring to a physical therapist’s (played by Lovely Abella) job as that of a “masahista” (masseuse) — it turned out to be a scene that did not sit well with physical therapists.

“We didn’t spend hours and sleepless nights of studying for five years just for you to call us ‘masahista,‘” wrote Techy Allaeza, a physical therapy intern at Philippine Orthopedic Center, on Facebook on Sept. 3. “How dare you GMA!”

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She uploaded a video of “The Stepdaughters” scene wherein Lopez can be heard telling Abella: “Let me just remind you, you’re just a physical therapist. You’re not a doctor. You’re not a nurse. Ngayon kung wala kang magawa, masahihin mo na lang ako. Tutal ‘yan naman ang trabaho mo, ‘di ba?” (Now, if you don’t have anything else to do, massage me. That’s your job anyway, right?)

Her post, which apparently connected with the sentiments of other physical therapists, had gone viral and garnered over 200,000 views, 230,000 likes-and-reactions, 1,500 comments and 1,800 shares, as of this writing.

We didn’t spend hours and sleepless nights of studying for 5 YEARS just for you to call us “masahista.”HOW DARE YOU, GMA! 😠

Posted by Techy Allaeza on Monday, September 3, 2018

Two days after Allaeza’s post was made, the Philippine Physical Therapy Association (PPTA), a local professional organization lobbying for the rights of Filipino physical therapists, issued on Sept. 5 a statement denouncing the “disparaging dialogue” in “The Stepdaughters”.  The PPTA noted that “the way [Lopez’s line] was delivered made it an insult” not only on Abella’s character “but to the entire profession.”

Here is our official statement concerning an episode of GMA Network’s The Stepdaughters aired last August 27, 2018.

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Posted by Philippine Physical Therapy Association, Inc. on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

“So even if it was said in feigned ignorance, it demonstrated a clear lack of awareness and absolute disregard for the honor and sensitivities of Filipino physical therapists here and abroad,” stated the association. “This insult towards an entire profession whose daily contribution as an integral member of the healthcare team does so much to help thousands of people return to function is uncalled for and necessitates a response, if only to correct a misconception.”

The PPTA explained that physical therapists aid people who have movement and/or functional disability. Citing the World Confederation for Physical Therapy of which the PPTA is part of, the association pointed out that physical therapists “help people at any stage of life when movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, diseases, disorders, conditions or environmental factors.”

“We have directly communicated with the senior vice president of [the] entertainment group of GMA Network regarding the resolution of this matter,” the PPTA said. “Should anyone else wish to learn more about the work physical therapists do, we are more than willing to extend our assistance.”

GMA 7 has yet to issue a statement on the issue, as of this writing. JB

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TAGS: Lovely Abella, physical therapist, physical therapy, Samantha Lopez, The Stepdaughters
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