The Department of Tourism, under Sec. Wanda Teo, was criticized for allegedly showing erroneous information on the country's tourism performance during the first year of the Duterte administration. DOT/File

DOT hit for release of allegedly misleading tourism data
Audrey Morallo (Philstar.com) - July 26, 2017 - 2:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism found itself in a swirl of criticism following its release of allegedly misleading statistics on the state of the country’s tourism industry showing more than 100-percent growth in revenues compared to the first year of the previous administration.

On Monday, DOT claimed that tourism revenue during the first year of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration rose to P220.30 billion, up from P106.297 billion recorded during the first 11 months of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration.

DOT added that tourist arrivals increased to 5,871,304 from 3,416,836 during the first 11 months of the Aquino presidency. This represents a 71.83-percent increase, it said.

Several people however called out DOT on social media for its alleged misrepresentation of data. They added that since the release of the questionable information the government department had removed from its social media sites data and graphics that might put to question its assertion.

Netizens posted infographics presenting data during the past years in an effort to contextualize the information released by the Tourism department. Information on the target figures for this year was also released and compared with what the government achieved for its first twelve months.

This is not the first time that the government was criticized for the information it released on its communication channels.

Malacañang was criticized for a controversial martial law video its communications office posted because of its alleged poor quality and its seeming call for military rule over the whole country.

The video, which was deleted, suggested that martial law should be the rule of the land and the only way to defend the country against threats.

“In the free society, there are groups who don’t want to give independence. They are adamant on detaining peaceful spirits. They are distressing feelings with fears. Let us not allow them to terrify us. We will all fight in unity. Martial law should be the rule of the land. Martial law. Now,” the video said.

Before it, the Philippine News Agency was blasted for releasing erroneous and misleading information.

In a May 27 report, the website was hit for using a photo showing American soldiers during the Vietnam War and for making it appear that it was taken in Marawi City.

This led to the abolition of the Strategic Communications Office and the reassignment of some members of his office.

Before that, the PNA inaccurately reported that 95 nations in the 27th Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council were convinced that there were not extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

The assertion was denied by the United Nations.

Duterte also appointed blogger Mocha Uson as an assistant secretary of the PCOO.

Uson, who vowed to fight fake information online, has been criticized in the past for spreading false information to her millions of followers. She was also sanctioned for cursing Vice President Leni Robredo on her now defunct radio show on a commercial station.

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