Malacanang on Sunday defended the new tourism slogan of the Department of Tourism (DOT) “It’s more fun in the Philippines” after getting flak for being unoriginal.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte brushed off criticisms against the new brand saying that the public should not focus on the slogan itself but on how effective it could be in attracting tourists.
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“Let’s measure how effective the slogan will be in the numbers, in the figures, in the number of tourist arrivals that the country will have,” Valte said.
Netizens bashed the new DOT slogan for supposedly being copied from a Switzerland’s motto in the 1950’s.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez dismissed the allegations saying it was just a “coincidence” and the slogan merely tells the truth about the Philippines.
Other critics also said that they preferred the slogan of the previous administration “Wow Philippines” but Valte claimed that it was not even that effective during Arroyo’s term.
“Some critics said that ‘Wow! Philippines’ should be revived instead but if you look at the numbers, the use of that slogan was not that effective,” she said.
“As mentioned in previous interviews, it was not used in countries such as Germany because they pronounce ‘W’ as ‘V’—the slogan did not make sense to our German friends. And even in Japan, which is one of our biggest tourist markets, it was not used because there was no direct translation of ‘wow’. Even in the US, which—again, if I’m not mistaken—is I think our biggest tourist market, the impact was not that good,” she related.
In 2010, the DOT under former secretary Alberto Lim also drew criticisms for coming up with a logo allegedly plagiarized from Poland.
Malacanang believed the two consecutive ad fiasco will not affect the country’s tourism campaign.
“If you can see the reactions online, everybody is getting onboard, everybody is having fun with the slogan…People are staunchly behind the DOT. It seems that the slogan is being widely accepted by our people,” Valtre stressed.
Meanwhile, the Palace expressed optimism about the forthcoming shooting of the Hollywood action movie “The Bourne Legacy” in the country.
Valte said it is a good opportunity for the country to be showcased in an international film.
“Part of the script says that the hero will really go to the Philippines. It is not like other movies that will shoot here but they will say that it is somewhere in Canada or somewhere in Thailand. So this time, it will really draw international audience,” she said.
The film’s lead star Jeremy Renner is reportedly already in Manila and billeted at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City.
Valte could not confirm yet whether there will be a courtesy call of the stars of the movie in Malacanang.
Malacanang earlier said that it expects that the filming of the movie will promote tourism and create jobs for Filipinos.
“The Bourne Legacy” is the latest in the movie franchise based on the espionage series created by Robert Ludlum.
Local officials advised Metro Manila motorists about the closure of several roads starting next week to make way for the filming of the Hollywood movie.
Among the planned shooting locations include Intramuros, Malate and other parts of Manila. There will also be a car chase shoot along Edsa-Taft Avenue area in Pasay City.
Some scenes will also be filmed on Ayala Avenue in Makati City, Marikina City public market and at the Navotas City fish port, officials said.
Lead actress Rachel Weisz is also expected to ride a jeepney as part of the film.
“The Bourne Legacy,” written and directed by Tony Gilroy, is the fourth installment of the Hollywood hit movie series that previously topbilled by Matt Damon playing the title character, Jason Bourne, in the first three installments.
Meanwhile, with the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Syria looking to get repatriated still coming “in trickles”, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) on Sunday reiterated its readiness to assist them upon their return to the country.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said they continue to encourage OFWs to avail of the repatriation program of the government and that jobs and other livelihood opportunities await them in the Philippines.
“For OFWs in Syria, who will return to the Philippines, we encourage them to remain in the country because there are jobs and other non-wage employment opportunities waiting for them, where the pay or income could be much greater than their salaries as domestic service workers in Syria,” said Baldoz.
Under the Balik-Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay Program, Dole is set to provide a P10,000 livelihood/business development assistance to returning women OFWs.
“The P10,000 is intended as a start-up capital for livelihood undertakings that a recipient may choose to engage in,” said Baldoz.
These livelihood opportunities include trading or general merchandise sales/dealership; neighborhood store; agri-business; food service; services; e-load station; and production or manufacturing.
Aside from the P10,000 assistance, the repatriated OFWs can also avail of a low-interest, collateral free loan offered under the P2-billion OFW Reintegration Loan Fund.
The loan program can be from a low of P500,000 to a maximum of P2 million for new or existing businesses.
To recall, it was last December 22 when the Philippine government raised the crisis level in Syria to Alert Level 4, which requires mandatory repatriation of OFWs.
But according to Baldoz, they have observed that the OFWs reception to the repatriation call was “timid”.
Data from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Damascus shows that there are about 14,927 OFWs in Syria, but only 1,422 are documented.