Phl Must be Half Empty, British Royal Quips

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 22, 2013 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Britain’s Prince Philip wonders if the Philippines is now “half empty” because of the large number of Filipino nurses working in UK hospitals.

The comment drew mixed reactions yesterday, according to a report by BBC News.

“The Philippines must be half empty – you’re all here running the NHS (National Health Service),” Prince Philip was quoted as saying.

The 91-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth was addressing a Filipino nurse he met during a visit to Luton and Dunstable Hospitals where he unveiled a new cardiac center.

While some reports called it a “racist remark,” BBC noted that the Duke of Edinburgh is “well known for his outspoken and sometimes controversial comments.”

A report recalled how Prince Philip asked a group of British students during a 1986 visit to China: “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”

During a trip to the Cayman Islands in 1994, he asked a native: “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?”

Speaking to a student who had been trekking in Papua New Guinea, the prince said in 1998: “You managed not to get eaten, then?”

Meanwhile, the hospital’s spokesperson insisted that Prince Phillip would never intend to cause offense and liked to make odd jokes “to put people at ease.”

The Filipino nurse, on the other hand, seemed to take Prince Phillip’s joke in good humor and laughed.

Filipino nurses continue to work in the UK because of the high salary and other benefits.

According to recent data, 16,184 out of the UK’s 670,000 nurses are from the Philippines.

Meanwhile, data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas showed a two-digit increase in the number of Pinoys abroad in 2011.

A total of 10.46 million Pinoys are in 217 countries and territories as of 2011, the commission reported. This is a 10.7-percent increase from 9.45 million in 2010.

The number is also equivalent to more than a quarter (25.4 percent) of the country’s workforce, pegged at 41.94 million as per Labor department data.



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