Thursday, June 14, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
My kumpadre Chito, an engineer now based in Saudi Arabia and a dyed-in-the-wool sports fan, wrote me an email expressing his thoughts on the recent issues hounding the Philippine Azkals.
Although working far away from home, Chito is not detached from the happenings in sports and politics. Social media has provided the link between him and the country in the same fashion as other Filipinos working overseas are linked to their families here.
Chito says he even starts his mornings reading the Edge online.
I will give this space up for Chito’s thoughts as he wrote:
Dear Pareng Neil,
I am glad to know that Hangtime is back and served daily. I can now look forward to starting my day in front of my laptop with a cup of Arabian coffee and dates on the side. This to me is a perfect way to start a day. Sorry to have not spent a round of golf with you in my last return as I have been hooked more to photography these days.
I think it is very saddening to know that the Azkals have been mired in controversy at a very crucial point of their stint as a national team. Likewise, it is more saddening to know of some unwanted remarks from some media back home regarding the Azkals being less than real Filipinos.
What a shame to have come down to a level of a rumor-mongerer and pass one’s uneducated judgment.
I wonder what is going on to the minds of these people? Here in the Middle East, thousands of Filipinos like me labor under the most extreme conditions and miles away from our families. We have learned to embrace this life as opportunities in our country are not that rosy. OFWs like us live from day to day energized by the fact that we are the lifeblood of an economy that thrives on OFW remittances. It seemed that easy for many, but to us here, there is more to being an OFW than the remittances we infuse to the Philippine economy.
We may not be raising families here, but we belong to those whose lives had to be uprooted from the comforts of our homes to the hostile conditions in an unfamiliar territory.
It pains us to know that someone as respected a broadcaster as Arnold Clavio will refer to those who grew up outside the country as non-citizens. What if I brought my wife Beth here and we bore a child? What if our child grew up in this foreign land? Will he be, as in the mind of Arnold, be less Filipino than say, someone who is born in the Philippines?
This really bothers me.
When I read your piece on this issue and having learned that no apologies will be issued by Arnold or the network, I begin to worry about some of our countrymen here who have brought their families with them. Will Arnold also berate their kids as less Filipinos than a muppet like Arn-Arn?
I think the offended party here is not so much the Azkals but the millions of OFWs and their children. It pains us to know that some people like Arnold thinks that the basic requirement for a citizenship is for one to have his color and for one to grow up in the Philippines.
I hope Arnold opens his eyes and grows up.
Thanks for the letter, Pareng Chito. Keep those reactions coming.
By the way, I admire your photography. You got the eye for wonderful shots and puts life even to a dry landscape of the desert sand dunes. Most of all, you are every inch a Filipino and I am tugging my chest and pointing my head as I am saying this.
Until the next cup of Arabian coffee and dates on the side.
(For your comments, email me at email@example.com.)
Monday, March 19, 2012
Arnold Clavio and his employer GMA TV have responded to the controversial issue regarding the broadcaster’s comments made on the network’s morning show program.
That’s the good news. The bad news is, there were no apologies.
Clavio maintained there is nothing wrong in his comments. This was his response as reported on www.gmanetwork.com:
Mga igan, nakakalungkot na may negatibong reaksyon ang naging pahayag ko tungkol sa Philippine Azkals kaugnay ng sexual harassment complaint ni Ms. Cristy Ramos. Wala po akong ganoong intensyon. Ang isyu po rito ay sexual harassment at kung may nagamit man po akong mga salita na hindi angkop, nagpapakumbaba po ako at humihingi ng pang-unawa. Dun naman po sa mga kasama kong nanindigan laban sa sexual harassment, maraming salamat po. Seryoso pong isyu ito na dapat bantayan.
The network has also made their official response to the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) via www.gmanetwork.com. It contained in part the following:
Nais po linawin ng GMA Network na ang mga inirereklamong pahayag ay hindi bahagi ng aming news reporting kung saan tanging mga statement of facts ang ibinabalita at kung saan walang puwang ang pagbibigay ng opinyon ng mga host. Ang mga inireklamong pahayag ay unscripted discussion ng Unang Hirit hosts sa commentary segment ng programa kung saan sila ay nagpalitan ng opinyon at nagbigay ng kani-kanilang pananaw tungkol sa naturang issue.
Nalulungkot po ang GMA Network na iba ang naging intindi ng Philippine Football Federation sa mga sinabi ni Arnold. Ang pinapatungkulan ni Arnold ay hindi kung Filipino citizen o kung may lahing Pilipino ang mga Azkals kundi kung naisapuso at naisaisip ba nila ang kulturang Pinoy.
And to finally nail down the point, GMA maintained their broadcasters did not commit any racist, discriminatory, libelous and malicious comments:
Sa liham ng Philippine Football Federation, sinabi nilang racist, discriminatory, libelous at malicious ang mga pahayag nina Arnold Clavio at Rhea Santos. Pero ang GMA Network po, walang nakitang racist, walang discriminatory, walang libelous at walang malicious sa mga komentaryo nina Arnold at Rhea.
GMA stood by Clavio, Santos and their program and slammed the issue raised by the PFF. Both GMA’s and Clavio’s sides maintain the issue is the sexual harassment issue, not the perceived racist dig.
Oh well, what can you expect?
The explanation made by Clavio and GMA had to serve their interests—first and foremost. They need to keep their reputation intact against an incensed sports community—particularly, football. By issuing those statements, it was clear they had no intention of taking a serious look on their faults. Clavio’s supposed humbling request for understanding is even conditional. He went on to look for sympathy from the pro-sexual harassment advocates.
Oh well, what can you expect?
These people will not just come down on their knees and ask for apologies. No matter what and no matter how obvious.
It is rather difficult to ask for humility and remorse where the larger interest of corporate image, credibility, marketability, and pride is at stake.
Yes, the main issue in the Azkals controversy is the sexual harassment case.
We do not condone sexual harassment here. We are not absolving the two Azkals concerned. There are just some off-timing elements in the case of Clavio’s comments.
First, any broadcaster who knows his journalism understands that there is such a thing as sub judice which means it is inappropriate to comment publicly on cases sub judice, which can be an offense in itself, leading to contempt of court proceedings. This is particularly true in criminal cases, where publicly discussing cases sub judice may constitute interference with due process.
The case is already with the PFF Disciplinary Committee under investigation it being the level in football hierarchy charged with the investigation of such cases. I understand that the complaint was filed with the AFC but it has to be remanded to the host country’s adjudication level.
If the case is not yet in the court of law is for the complainant to exercise his or her prerogative.
Second, if you are a true Filipino, you do not denigrate a national team moments before they take on a crucial sporting battle on behalf of the country. Prudence dictates to put it off at least when it’s over. Even Cristy Ramos, admire her for her sense of nationalism and propriety, was prudent enough to at least let the issue rest while the Nationals are off to secure history for the country.
Third, the comments were too sweeping. It was made to curse every half-Pinoys in the team and all others of the same circumstances whether Azkals or not.
True, the network has no control of their opinion. But even one’s opinion, in the exercise of one’s freedom of speech, is not absolute. Where for obvious reasons, a broadcaster goes beyond the limits of journalistic freedom, the internal controls of a network can take its course even when the broadcast is taped as live and the remarks come with spontaneity.
If a network can allow such freedom to go unbridled within the context of professionalism and ethics, I am afraid even a muppet may be licensed to berate with impunity.