UP president saddened over student’s ‘committed fraud’
Mark Joseph Solis receives the award and prizes, including flight tickets and accommodation to Brazil and Chile, for bagging the grand prize in the ‘Smiles for the World’ photo contest organized by the Chile Embassy in Manila on September 18 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He later admitted that he simply lifted from someone else’s Flickr account the winning photograph. Video courtesy of Raymond C. Ordoñez
MANILA, Philippines —The president of the University of the Philippines (UP) has expressed sadness over the “committed fraud” of a graduate student, who submitted a stolen photo to a Chile Embassy-sponsored contest.
UP president Alfredo Pascual said that while Mark Joseph Solis’ apparent intellectual property theft did not involve academic work, it “blemish(ed)” the image of the state university.
Solis received on September 18 a cash prize of $1,000 and plane tickets for a trip to Chile and Brazil for winning the grand prize in the Calidad Humana photo essay contest by submitting another photographer’s work.
“While some of his acts may have been performed outside academic work, these blemish the image of UP as an academic institution which holds clearly the values of honor and excellence,” Pascual said in a statement published online, referring to reports that Solis had stolen other people’s work in the past five years.
Pascual said he had ordered the UP National College of Public Administration (NCPAG), where Solis is enrolled as a graduate student, to form a fact-finding committee to “establish the circumstances and chronology of events” and “ensure that justice is served.”
“I would like to assure the public that the UP administration is treating this matter very seriously. I share the outrage felt by everyone,” he said.
However, Pascual called on UP community “to allow the processes of the University to take its course.”
“We shall follow due process, even as we remain just and humane,” he said.
Solis, a 22-year old UP student, has earned the ire of the public after eagle-eyed netizens discovered that his winning entry to Calidad Humana (Smiles for the World), a contest sponsored by the Chilean Embassy, was that of Gregory John Smith.
The Chilean Embassy immediately declared the contest’s runner-up as the winner and said it would take back the cash and plane tickets awarded to Solis.
The photo, which Solis said was of a child from Zamboanga, turned out to be from Brazil, according to Smith who works at the Children at Risk Foundation.
“Mark Solis not only violated the spirit of Calidad Humana, but also showed a disregard for Gregory Smith and other photographers who work hard to capture and produce beautiful images to support their causes and livelihood,” Pascual said.
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