Press Release
March 29, 2009

Pia slams Chip Tsao, HK Magazine

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today joined calls to demand a public apology from a top Hong Kong publication and one of its columnists over a recent opinion article that made a racial slur against Filipinos over the country's right to claim the Spratly Islands.

Cayetano, chair of the Senate committee on social justice, said Filipinos deserve no less than a formal public apology for the opinion piece entitled "The War At Home" written by Chip Tsao which appeared on the March 27 edition of the widely-circulated "HK Magazine."

Tsao's column depicted the Philippines as a "nation of servants" not worthy of claiming the Spratys from China, as the latter employs hundreds of thousands of Filipino domestic helpers on very low wages.

"Instead of contributing to intelligent discussions on ways to resolve the Spratlys dispute, Tsao only succeeded in eliciting hatred and sowing more confusion not only among Filipinos but maybe even among his fellow Chinese who are not aware of the intricacies of the issue."

"Let's not dignify Tsao's views by not stooping down to his level. We shouldn't allow ourselves to be bullied by people with narrow minds like him. HK Magazine and Tsao must apologize for insulting Filipinos, and they should pledge not to commit this mistake again."

"Our being a poor nation does not diminish the validity of our historical and legal claim to the Spratlys. In the proper forum, this dispute will eventually be threshed out and resolved. Ignorance, hatred and racial bias are the last things we need in approaching this long-standing controversy."

"Our claim to the Spratlys is as valid as the other claims being pushed by other nations. It does not mean that we're disregarding the claims of others. We respect their claim inasmuch as they should acknowledge ours."

Cayetano added that should Tsao make good on his whimsical threat to fire her Filipino househelp over the Spratlys dispute, then she's confident that other employers in Hong Kong, including foreign expatriates and fellow Filipinos, would be more than willing to take her in.

"I'll personally appeal on my Filipino and foreigner friends based in Hong Kong to hire her. I'm sure there are many more enlightened minds out there willing to take her in. Filipino domestic helpers are very much in demand in Hong Kong precisely because of their efficiency and positive ethic at work."

"We should be proud that millions of OFWs are able to serve the world, whether as managers, laborers, caregivers or medical prefessionals. There's nothing to be ashamed of as long as we're earning an honest living without having to step on the dignity of others."

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