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 Guam govt official in hot water

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PostSubject: Guam govt official in hot water   Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:14 pm

Guam govt official in hot water for criticizing Pinoys' English skills

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The Philippines may be the third largest English-speaking country in the world but Filipinos were recently criticized by a Guam official for having poor English skills.

According to the news site News Flavor, the Philippines has over 10 million English-speakers.

However, the news site Asian Journal said Ben Abrams, assistant attorney general of Guam, a United States territory, recently remarked that Filipinos had poor English skills.

He was shown making the comment in a video anonymously posted on YouTube.

The video showed Abrams refuting an unnamed person’s suggestion during a Guam Board of Allied Health Examiners meeting to send legal transcription work to the Philippines.

“Their English is not good enough,” said Abrams, whose wife is a Filipina. “I don’t think their English is good enough...I don’t like that idea at all... You’re dealing with a Third World country where English is a second language.”

Competent enough

On Thursday, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Raul Hernandez said he believes the Philippines has a competent medical and legal transcription sector, adding that it is the “fastest growing sector of the business process outsourcing (BPO).”

In a text message to GMA News Online, he said: “As you know the Philippines is now the largest provider of voice services in the world and most, if not all, of the 811 BPO companies that established operations here are very satisfied. In fact many of them are opening up offices outside Metro Manila.”

Philippine consul general Bayani Mangibin, after hearing the reports, said, “It is the responsibility of the Philippine Counsel General to correct wrong impressions about the Philippines and the Filipinos and to make appropriate action against racially discriminating remarks.”

He mentioned statistics from an English proficiency test done by Pearson Talent assessment showing Filipinos ranked higher than Latin America, East Europe, and India.

“The attorney general expressed his apprehension that the video incident might create a propaganda effect and divert the focused determination of the office to prosecute the concerned case with integrity and transparency,” said Mangibin.

Ethics complaint

According to the Asian Journal, the Philippines Consul General’s office will meet with the Guam Bar Association to find out whether or not Abram’s remarks warrant an ethics complaint.

However, Cynthia Ecube, president of the Guam Bar Association, told Kuam News, a Guam news broadcast, that an ethics complaint will only be possible if the lawyer’s conduct involves “a violation of the rules of professional responsibility, specifically either ethical issues or concerning unauthorized practice of law of an individual who professes themselves to be an attorney.”

‘An act of desperation’

Abrams told Kuam News the video is an “act of desperation.”

"The allegation that I’m a racist is not only erroneous, it’s downright preposterous. I am happily married to a wonderful woman who happens to be a Filipina,” he said.

He added that the video is only an excerpt so “context is distorted.”

There are 18,175 OFWs in Guam according to the 2010 Stock Estimate of the Commission of Filipino Overseas (CFO). - VVP, GMA News
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