MANILA, Philippines- Minority congressmen took turns bashing the newly launched slogan of the Department of Tourism (DOT), advising the agency to ditch it and make Sarangani Rep. boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as its new endorser.
The lawmakers urged the DOT to capitalize on Pacquiao’s global popularity even as they noted that the new slogan, “Pilipinas Kay Ganda,” doesn’t exactly appeal to foreigners who won’t comprehend the Filipino words.
The DOT has taken down the website featuring the new slogan after finding out that a porn site uses the same keywords.
Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said, “Pacquiao is beyond politics. No majority and minority, Pacquiao can do a good job of selling the country. “
Minority Leader Edcel Lagman even urged Pacquiao to hold his next boxing match in the Philippines as it is sure to attract tourists and generate media hype for the country.
“Pacquiao is not only a boxing icon. He’s also a tourism magnet for the Philippines. We are encouraging him to stage his next fight in the country as a boost to Philippine tourism. It may not be as profitable, but he may be giving back to his ardent admirers,” he said.
Lagman noted that the country has enough resources and venues to host such a boxing event. “We will not be destitute of venues. Ang daming venues. I think the principal venue will be in Metro Manila,” he added.
When asked if he thinks Pacquiao should go all out in endorsing the Philippine tourism industry, Lagman said, “Not with the present slogan.”
Both Lagman and senior Deputy Minority Leader Danilo Suarez noted that politics could be a significant reason for the change of the slogan from the Arroyo administration’s “Wow Philippines“ to the Aquino administration’s “Pilipinas Kay Ganda.”
“I think they just want to come up with something on their own and assimilate for their own administration. Problema nitong slogan, Tagalog eh. Maghahanap ka pa ng translator. Kunyari pupunta ka sa travel agency and you look at brochure. Ano yun? What does it say?” he said.
Lagman said “anything which the previous administration activated the present administration would like to jettison, and now, they even go to so much there might be some politics there. Nothing wrong with the present slogan. Why change it? Sino bang Englishman, American, German would understand unless you translate? Doesn’t really ring a keen interest.”
Lanao Del Norte Rep. Aliyah Dimaporo said the new slogan is weak from a marketing standpoint, and doesn’t say anything about the Philippines' tourism brand.
“From a marketing standpoint it can be better. It needs to be improved. The Philippines is more known for natural resources, beaches, we have a lot of adventure sports taking place. We [should] go back to Manny Pacquiao, we tie in what we have. Tourism should reflect something the Philippines can be proud of,” she said.
Dimaporo cited Malaysia’s “Truly Asia” slogan as a good slogan.
“’Malaysia truly Asia.’ Why? Because they have 4 different kinds of population. That’s what they’re trying to project themselves to be. Malaysia truly Asia. They experience what Asia is all about.“
Magsaysay said the country needs to repackage itself to recover from the negative image generated by the recent Manila hostage crisis.
“I’m looking at maybe, it’s about time to repackage...Maybe a major repackaging so people might forget previous incidents and look at us in a different light," she said.