The seven-member supergroup BTS earned further admiration around the world this week when President Moon Jae-In of their home country South Korea officially appointed them as his government’s Special Presidential Envoy for Future Generations and Culture.
In a ceremony held at the Blue House in Seoul last September 14, Moon gave each of BTS’ members a diplomatic passport in connection with their new designation. According to a report by the Agence France Presse, the group will travel to New York, United States next week to speak during the Sustainable Development Goals Moment on September 20, ahead of the UN General Assembly.
A video of their performance will also be played during the event. In the same report, it was said that as holders of a diplomatic passport, BTS members will enjoy privileges such as diplomatic immunity and exemption from airport inspections. The seven members of BTS are Kim Namjoon (stage name: RM), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Min Yoongi (Suga), Jung Hoseok (JHope), Park Jimin (Jimin), Kim Taehyung (V), and Jeon Jungkook (JK).
In the Philippines, however, one female netizen named Jane Corpin Fabre is now in hot water after posting a tweet that indirectly minimized the benefits of the diplomatic passports awarded to BTS. Fabre claimed through her Twitter account @NinangJane that she has been a holder of a diplomatic passport since 2017 and that “it doesn’t mean a thing” to her. She also attached a photo of her purportedly using that diplomatic passport for a flight to Taipei, Taiwan.
Fabre’s post swiftly elicited negative reactions from members of the BTS ARMY and non-fans alike. In a rather funny twist of fate, the criticisms against Fabre focused not on her apparent shade against BTS but on how and why she came to have a diplomatic passport as she claims in the first place.
For instance, Filipina lawyer and 2006 Philippine bar topnotcher Joan DeVenecia-Fabul wrote on Facebook that a source from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) told her that Fabre does not work for DFA and that no diplomatic passport has been issued to her.
For her part, former presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte explained that diplomatic passports “are issued to a select number of people in public service including diplomats, cabinet secretaries, President, et al. for good reason.” Valte, who served during the administration of the late former President Benigno Aquino III added: “That carries a privilege, but most importantly, the responsibility of representing your home country with honor and dignity.” Click here to see the list of people who are entitled to have a diplomatic passport according to DFA.
As of writing time, one netizen has already filed an official complaint against Fabre before the DFA. And in an obvious bid to avoid the social media firestorm, Fabre has set her Facebook and Instagram accounts to private.
Diplomatic passports are issued to a select number of people in public service (PH diplomats, cabinet secretaries, President, et al) for good reason. That carries a privilege, but most importantly, the responsibility of representing your home country with honor & dignity.
— Abi Valte (@Abi_Valte) September 17, 2021