MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Embassy of Chile has revoked the prize it awarded to Mark Joseph Solis, who was found to have stolen another photographer’s work to enter and win the recent Calidad Humana Project “Smiles for the World” competition.
In a statement issued on Monday, September 23, the Embassy of Chile said it is also “considering taking legal action against” Solis.
“Part of Calidad Humana (strength of human character) involves living with integrity and upholding the values of the Filipino people. Obviously, Mr. Solis has failed to abide by this,” the embassy said.
Chilean Ambassador Roberto Mayorga said the incident should serve as an invitation for Filipinos to have discussions on protecting the Filipino people’s Calidad Humana.
“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,” Mayorga said.
The Chilean Embassy said it is currently re-evaluating other submissions in the contest. A new set of winners is expected to be announced soon.
On Sunday evening, September 22, Solis confessed to Rappler that he passed off a photograph by Gregory Smith as his own to enter the contest sponsored by the Chilean ambassador.
Solis submitted a photo of a boy whom he said was from Zamboanga City. Smith, a social entrepreneur, said the photo belonged to the Children at Risk Foundation. The child in the photo was from Brazil, not Zamboanga City.
On Chile’s National Day last Wednesday, September 18, Solis was awarded $1,000 and roundtrip tickets to Chile and Brazil.
This video taken by Raymond Ordonez, one of the 30 finalists in the contest, shows Solis receiving the award.
According to posts on the “Narinig ko sa UP” (Overheard at UP) Facebook page, Solis had plagiarized at least 5 times since 2011.
Hours after the news broke out, Solis issued a letter of apology to Smith saying he was driven by his “youth, lack of experience, and the inability to see the repercussions of (his) actions.”
Solis said he would surrender everything he won from the competition. – Rappler.com