‘Housewives’ angers Filipinos in medicine
Hawaii Filipino leaders are joining those across the country in protesting a disparaging remark on the American Broadcasting Company's television sitcom "Desperate Housewives."
Political and community leaders, officials, doctors and students of Filipino ancestry expressed outrage yesterday about the Sept. 30 episode.
When a gynecologist suggested Terri Hatcher's character (Susan) might be reaching menopause, she said: "Can I just check those diplomas because I just want to make sure that they are not from some med school in the Philippines."
ABC issued an apology after receiving a petition with more than 100,000 signatures expressing indignation and hurt over the statement, said Alma Kern of Seattle, chairwoman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations.
Kern was among those addressing the issue during a regional NaFFAA conference at the University of Hawaii Campus Center Ballroom.
She said the national federation and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns and other groups want more than an apology. They've also asked ABC to issue a statement and produce shows recognizing the contribution of Filipino health care professionals to the American health care system.
About 22,000 Filipino doctors practice in the United States, as well as thousands of nurses and caregivers, she said.
If ABC does nothing in three to six months, she said, "We will have to do something more drastic," such as boycott or picket ABC. She said talks are planned with Seattle-based Starbucks and other advertisers that support "Desperate Housewives."
Philippine Consul General Ariel Abadilla said Willy Gaa, Philippine ambassador to the United States, felt the remark offended all Filipinos and "especially those who worked so hard to establish solid reputations in the field of medicine and health care."
Dr. Fernando Ona, Philippine Medical Association of Hawaii president, who received his medical degree from a school in the Philippines, said the show's remark was a "reprehensible insult to the racial diversity and competence of doctors of Filipino ancestry."
Besides graduating from a medical school and internship training, Philippine doctors who want to practice in the United States must be obtain certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and pass the U.S. medical licensing examination before applying for a license and undergoing further internship or residency training.