Senator Alan Peter Cayetano rallied the public to move forward and join hands in promoting the country amid the controversy surrounding the new tourism branding campaign called ‘Love the Philippines.’
This after the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Monday terminated its contract with an advertising agency that was found to have used stock footage taken from foreign countries in promoting tourism in the Philippines.
“Issues have been brought out and discussed, mistakes have been acknowledged both by the DOT and the advertising agency. Isn’t the purpose of criticism to correct? So mission accomplished!” Cayetano said in a post on his official Facebook page on July 5, Wednesday.
The senator commended the country’s vibrant democracy for enabling the exposure of such issues to light, causing both the DOT and the ad agency to acknowledge both their mistakes.
He however said there needs to be a balanced view in this issue where partisan and political interests may be present.
“Once a wrong is exposed (or explained) and mistakes are acknowledged and remedied, do we keep pounding on it, shooting ourselves in the foot in foreign media… or do we come together and, with the corrections, promote the beauty of our country and people?!” he said.
Cayetano said in promoting tourism in the Philippines, part of the draw should be the country’s number one asset: the Filipinos.
“GOD created such a beautiful country, such talented people! Yes, beautiful mountains, hills, valleys, islands, beaches, modern cities etc., yet our number one asset is our people!” he said.
“The problem is not many people around the world know much about the Philippines! Yet many love the Filipinos! With more than 10 million Filipinos abroad, the first insight about the Philippines comes from the Filipino!” he added.
The senator warned against the prevalence of fake news that similarly penetrated social media platforms during the country’s successful hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019, which he headed as Chairman of the Philippine SEA Games Organizational Committee.
“Remember the allegation that kikiam (pork) was served to Muslims during the SEAGames? It turned out to be fake news! It was chicken sausage! We found out there was a big PR firm launching the attack. It all turned out to be fake news, a political agenda packaged as constructive criticism,” he explained.
He said this fake news hurt the Philippines, and the country’s hosting scared off many sponsors due to the negative news in Southeast Asian countries.
At the end of his post, Cayetano expressed confidence in Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco’s handling of the tourism campaign issue.
“I know the DOT Secretary, she listens! She cares about people’s views and ideas! Let’s try communicating, not for her but for the country which we all claim to love,” he said.
“Let’s go to the next phase! Support DOT, promote the Philippines!” he added.