Veteran broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez of ABS-CBN found herself in hot water anew after netizens reacted negatively to remarks she made toward the end of a TV Patrol episode last December 3.
While talking about Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) with her fellow anchors Noli de Castro and Ted Failon, Sanchez quipped: “Kaya pa nating idasal yan para lumihis” (“Let’s use the power of prayer for that typhoon to go away”).
Referring to the probability that “Ruby” can eventually change course and hit Japan instead, De Castro said: “Pwede bang hati na lang tayo, Kalahati sa Pilipinas, kalahati sa Japan,” perhaps referring to the intensity of damage the typhoon can cause to places it will hit.
Sanchez then responded: “Pwede bang sa kanila na lahat? Parang mas kaya nila,” (“Is it possible for the Japanese to endure everything? They can handle it better than us.”) Watch the exchange below:
It is understandable for Sanchez to ask people to try and “pray” the typhoon away. Filipinos do resort to prayers during natural disasters. Of course, we know what Oratio Imperata is all about. In fact, a forecaster from the state weather bureau said in national television last Friday that the weakening of Typhoon Ruby can be attributed to divine intervention.
But how do we make sense of Sanchez’ “wish” for Typhoon Ruby to spare the Philippines and slam Japan instead? It is clearly both callous and insensitive. We can be certain that Filipinos in Japan and those living here will not be happy if a leading news anchor in NHK goes to national television and say that Japan will be better off if the typhoon will stay its course and ravage the Philippines.
Let’s look at the context of their banter: This time last week, weather forecasters both here and abroad kept on emphasizing that Typhoon Ruby can eventually veer away from the country and more toward Japan instead (it didn’t). The exchange happened in the segment of TV Patrol where anchors can share their thoughts about the news they reported (this portion began around 2010-2011).
Needless to say, Sanchez made her quip in an unscripted moment. You know, these are the sort of words you tell your friends in private but not when you’re in front of millions. Is it embarrassing for her? Yes, but not in the same magnitude as her verbal tirades against CNN anchor Anderson Cooper last year.
As a final note, Sanchez is right in saying that Japan can really handle disasters better than us. Cooper himself made the same point when he guested on The David Letterman Show shortly after his coverage of Super Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation in Eastern Visayas.
ICYMI: Philippine Stars Ricky Lo reported last week that Korina Sanchez will go on leave from TV Patrol early next year, but not as a preparation for her husband Mar Roxas’ 2016 presidential campaign.