The case of Filipino Solis’ stolen photos

solisWhen one hears the name of Mark Joseph Solis now, it is immediately equated to a young and artful Filipino who can’t wait to become rich and famous by employing deceptive acts along the way.

Solis’ modus was stealing photos of other people online and entering them in competitions as if it was his own – complete with a story of what the photo is all about.

It has been reported that Solis has won numerous competitions, bringing home rewards and enjoying the perks that goes with the prize in the three years that he has been trying to outsmart people.

At the end it was his stupidity that did him in.

It was bad enough that Solis has been forging other’s people work in contests and passing it as his, but it is simply sheer idiocy to compose a story about the picture that does not depict the real thing, even if it shows what it really is.

Take for example his ‘winning’ entry in the 2nd Calidad Humana National Essay Photography Competition organized by the Chilean Embassy with the theme “Smiles of the World.”

It was about a photo of a smiling boy draped with seaweed, who he said was named Nilo and was from Zamboanga City. The caption stated that the boy helped his father farm seaweed.

Neptune, King of the Sea

Neptune, King of the Sea

In reality, it was a photo owned by Gregory John Smith, who probably took it when the boy happily surfaced with the seaweed draping over his head and he named it “Neptune, King of the Sea.”

Smith, a social entrepreneur, is also the founder of Children at Risk Foundation, which, ironically, helps children at risk both in Brazil and the Philippines.

Smith could only lament, saying, “an impostor… abused my copyright.”

And to think that the “Calidad Humana” (translation: Human Quality) competition speaks about the integrity and the strength of the human character of Filipinos!

But, stealing the photo and claiming it his own is only part of the whole Calidad Humana charade.

What completes it is what my beef is all about against the brazen Solis, which is this:

The seaweed on the boy’s head is not the same kind of seaweed that is being farmed in Zamboanga to produce carrageenan, a well known food and industrial additive.

Rather, what is draping on the boy’s head, by the looks of it alone, is the seaweed called sargassum.

You don’t culture sargassum the way we culture or farm eucheuma cottonii and spinosum in Zamboanga and other parts in the Philippines, which are the primary sources of carrageenan.

Sargassum is what we see washed up on the shores by waves especially after a bad weather or typhoon, where kids love to pick it up and pop the berrylike gas-filled bladders of some of the seaweeds.

Makes me wonder if, indeed, Solis even know what I am talking about or if he can distinguish at all which is which if he is presented with the different specimens.

Solis has made fool of people competing and showing what isn’t his. On top of that he also takes people for a ride pretending that he is a learned person in his essays.

Hope this ignominy that Solis has brought unto himself, his family and country will open up his eyes and make him a better and more responsible person as he goes on with life.

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3 comments on “The case of Filipino Solis’ stolen photos

  1. penpowersong says:

    Plagiarism, dishonesty, selfishness…what next?
    By Apolinario Villalobos

    A senator delivered a plagiarized privilege speech, a philantropist businessman also delivered a plagiarized commencement speech before graduating students of a high end university. The Napoles issue resulting from excessive greed is trending among plain rumor mongers and the hi-tech ones via social networks. And now a UP student plagiarized a photo which eventually won. Where will greed bring us next?

    The senator boldly defended himself with a smile. The businessman just resigned from his top post in the university with a sad face. Napoles is languishing in a luxurious confinement with a hearty laugh. A teacher in UP by the name of Mendoza called Solis, the photo plagiarist, a “good student” , although, she met him only once.

    What is happening to us Filipinos? We seemed to have lost our values. Yes, it seems. And, I am not surprised because the GMRC (Good Manners and Right Conduct) as an important integral component of basic instruction to students by the time they set foot on the school ground is practically eliminated. I am sure the reaction to this statement would be that it has been “improved”, hence, “replace” with another subject. If so, are the same values still taught? Take note of the following:

    -students no longer know how to kiss the hand of their elders which is part of the Filipino culture and tradition
    -seldom can you hear youngsters use the “po” , “ho”, “opo”, “oho” (though some still due to the insistent of their parents)
    -students love to sound foreign by not pronouncing Filipino words properly, such as the “R” (by not speaking in our language as Filipinos the right way, we become dishonest because we do not show our real selves)

    The school through their teachers seem deaf and blind to the above situations. I doubt if teachers ever call the attention of students who speak in Filipino with American twang. All those point to the failure of our education system to inculcate in the minds of the students the honesty as a Filipino value.

    Some students, in their desire to complete school requirements to be able to graduate, “copy” and “paste” research materials from the internet to come up with a thesis. I know this because I have encountered materials of these kind in my job as editor. I know that the material is plagiarized if it is very well written (too good to be true). To confirm my suspicion, I would ask my clients to show me some of their notes. If my client admits the crime, that’s the time that I have to rewrite, condense, etc. the material. Most often these students humbly admit that they find it hard to express themselves in English. Bluntly put, the school failed in the aspect of general development of the students. A development which should have started at an early age when parents entrusted their children to the school. It is a sad reality that has become deeply rooted in the personality of our youth which they manifest when they go out to face the world teeming with the same bad attitude.

    As a self-made Filipino who worked my way into a decent life through hard work and honesty, I am saddened with the new adage: May the best plagiarist and most dishonest win!

    • quierosaber says:

      I need not say more except that its frustrating. There doesn’t seem to be a role model anymore to be looked up to and exacerbated by the fact that the brain drain phenomenon of teachers is resulting to rotted values prevalent now among the younger generation. Very ironic also that the Catholic religion is not doing adequately their share of edifying the values of young people, for how could they when the clergies themselves lack scruples. It’s getting to be a destructive cycle of moral values.

  2. barsanasvp says:

    It’s really disgusting to read news headlines such as this one. And coming from the the top government university, Solis has not only the University of the Philippines to shame, but also the entire country. However, with the kind of government we have today, where even Senators are besieged with accusations of plagiarism, something has to be done, or else this will become deeply rooted to the entire system.

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