Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Smiles for the world plagiarized photo is showing the Calidad Humana we have as Filipinos?

"In crisis like this, come enlightening opportunities."  That's the most powerful line from the passionate and full of diplomacy Chilean Ambassador Roberto Mayorga as reply to my email sent to him yesterday. I told him that I'm sad for what happened and that not all Filipinos are like Mark Solis who joined and won the Internet based Calidad Humana "Smiles for the World" photo contest with a photo not his but belong to a Brazillian Photographer who later received an apology letter from Solis. 

The photo from Flickr under Gregory John Smith which he took in 2006.

Photo from GMA News: Ambassador Roberto Mayorga and Mark Solis at CCP during the awards night

I feel sad because of the fact that I myself had a multiple meetings with Ambassador Mayorga and his staff to spread the information about the photo contest. I even organized a media event for this project at his house at Forbes Park. I felt that I am also responsible for knowing if all photos submitted were all original and sad knowing it's an International event and a Filipino did a surprising photo plagiarism. 

Ambassador Roberto Mayorga and me during our first meeting at the Embassy of Chile

Photo taken from the web: Winning Photo?

 Below is the Press Statement from the Embassy of Chile on Calidad Humana Project Smiles for the World.

September 23 (Manila) The Embassy of Chile, together with the partners of the Calidad Humana Project, would like to express its gratitude to the Filipino people and our media partners who have provided their support for this initiative, including giving information regarding the irregularity of the photo submitted by Mr. Mark Joseph Solis, who was declaredwinner of the “Smiles for the World” photo competition.
Their support affirms the Filipino’s innate Calidad Humana, which is translated as strength of human character and all that contributes to a culture of excellence and a life of virtue well spent.
In accordance with the information that we have obtained confirming that Mr. Solis indeed plagiarized the work of Mr. Gregory Smith, the committee is in the process of re-evaluating the other submissions and has decided to revoke the prize issued to Solis. After due evaluation, a new set of winners will be announced.
Part of Calidad Humana involves living with integrity and upholding the values of the Filipino people. Obviously, Mr. Solis has failed to abide by this and we are considering taking legal action against him.
According to Ambassador Mayorga, “we must take this situation as a sign inviting Filipinos to an open discussion about the urgency to protect the Filipino people from the erosion of theirCalidad Humana. Filipinos still have innate values, such as honesty, compassion, and resiliency, although there are exceptions such as this case of plagiarism…this case must strengthen our faith and make us aware that we are in front of a hard challenge to take care and preserve the Calidad Humana that the majority of Filipinos have.”

With the Calabarzon and Manila based media during our meeting at Forbes Park with the Calidad Humana Team, Ambassador Roberto Mayorga and his wife, Former Board Member of Laguna and now Asec General of Philippine Red Cross Neil Nocon, UPLB professors and some of my friends.

From the official website:

Calidad Humana” is human compassion, sense of humaneness, strength of character, and human tone. It is unique to the world. It is expressed through our cordiality and friendliness, our positive outlook in life, and SMILES on our faces. “Calidad Humana,” literally translated as the quality of being human and loosely translated as strength of character, may refer to the sum total of distinctively human characteristics that dignify and ennoble a person and enable him to contribute to a culture of excellence either in his immediate, mediate, or broader environment … either in unusual or day-to-day situations and circumstances. It is not a state a person is in but a constant movement to attain the state of human perfection. “Calidad Humana” marks the person noble in his dealings, steadfast in his convictions, and unfaltering in his equanimity, without any pretensions … everything that contributes in the end to a life well-spent. One need not have most, or much less all, positive traits in heroic proportions, nor would one need to be exempt from defects of character. What is needed for “calidad humana” is a quality or a cluster of qualities that steadily stands out in one’s personal and social life, hand-in-hand with an unwavering struggle for the other human virtues.

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