MANILA -– Malacañang demanded Wednesday an apology from ABC network and producers of “Desperate Housewives” for the racial slur against Filipino medical practitioners that was aired on the show’s 4th season premier last September 30.
The issue, which has drawn flak from concerned viewers, stemmed from a remark made by Susan Mayer, a character being played by actress Teri Hatcher, when she visited the office of Dr. Adam Mayfair, played by Nathan Fillion.
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In the scene, Dr. Mayfair told Mayer that the word “menopause" opens a Pandora’s Box for the age-conscious middle-aged woman.
But Mayer cut him short, saying: “Before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? 'Coz, I just want to make sure they’re not from some med school in the Philippines."
“On the face, we can look at it as a racial slur. Masyado naman tayong minamaliit yata,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said in his weekly press conference.
Ermita said there are a lot of Filipino medical professionals abroad, especially the US and “it's enough to say that they have acquitted themselves in that profession.”
“I would not wish to think that it is a US government policy, hindi naman siguro. But in a democratic system, everyone can say what he thinks he must say. And take the consequence out of their words or action,” he said.
Ermita asked civil society groups in the Philippines and in the US to call the attention of the people responsible for the slur.
He said the remark runs contrary to the fact that a Filipina nurse named Lily Lara has been chosen as one of the top 10 nurses in the US.
Asked whether Malacañang would demand an apology, he said: “Yes. I think we should. In behalf of our Filipino professionals.”
In Cagayan de Oro, new city hospital chief Dr. Dures Fe Escarro Tagayuna joined other city-based doctors in denouncing the said episode of Desperate Housewives.
Tagayuna, in a TV interview, said Mayer’s remark on Filipino doctors is a “national embarrassment” and should be rectified.
"I know of Filipino doctors abroad who worked in top hospitals and they (have excelled in their jobs) so I don't know where this comes from," said Tagayuna, who also chaired the Misamis Oriental Medical Society.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, filed a protest against the US TV network.
Criticisms against the TV program have also been mounting in an online petition. (Sunnex/With SC of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro)