dubai-based filipina calls philippine deluge a well-deseved punishment for filipinos

Published September 28th, 2009 - 01:55 GMT
Woman faces harassment by compatriots across the globe via social networking websites
Thousands upon thousands of Filipino internet users have flocked on to Facebook to dish out their grievances to a certain Dubai-based Filipina who called the devastating deluge brought on by typhoon “Ondoy” a well-deserved punishment for the sins of the Filipino people.
Jacqueline Bermejo, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and allegedly a marketing professional in the luxury property sector, posted a comment, written in crude Tagalog-English form, on the wall of the Definitely Filipino Facebook page that read, “It’s a good thing I’m here in Dubai. There probably are so many sinners in the Philippines and maybe they deserve what is happening.”
The rather tasteless and insensitive comment quickly spurred an outburst among the online Filipino community, with thousands bombarding Bermejo’s Facebook and Multiply pages, leaving ill-wishing remarks, and hundreds more rapidly launching massive online campaigns to bring the unfortunate event to the awareness of the masses.
The gravity of the prevailing barrage of slanderous, demeaning, and downright threatening messages has become so intense that a considerable number of people involved in the discussion have doled out death threats to Bermejo. A few have even called on Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to proclaim Jacqueline Bermejo as a persona non grata and never permit the woman entry into the Philippine islands.
Attackers have also managed to uncover Bermejo’s contact information and have published it online, encouraging other Filipinos to subject the woman to verbal abuse and harassment.
A few hours into the colossal online event, a statement purportedly issued by Bermejo’s brother, surfaced on the web. The brother defended Bermejo’s innocence, stating instances of hacked Facebook and Friendster accounts which conveniently lead to the conclusion that the latter may have been a victim of identity fraud all along.
“My sister is educated, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, and does not speak English as crudely as is evident in the infamous Facebook comment. We come from a known political family and my sister would never do anything to tarnish the reputation of the family name,” Bermejo’s brother explained in the statement. The credibility of the said statement has yet to be confirmed.
Ondoy struck several provinces in the Philippine archipelago on the afternoon of Saturday, September 26th, 2009, and has since wreaked havoc on local livelihoods and the national economy, leaving at least 145 dead, over 100,000 people homeless, and at least half a million residents displaced by floods.

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