DOT not related to Wow Pilipinas Partylist, agency says

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
DOT not related to Wow Pilipinas Partylist, agency says
In this 2018 file photo, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat addresses the press as the new agency chief.
The STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2, 2:41 p.m.) — The Department of Tourism on Tuesday informed the public that it is not related nor affiliated to “Wow Pilipinas Partylist,” gunning for a congressional seat in the May 2019 elections.

Wow Pilipinas Movement described itself as a “tourism sector partylist and advocacy for sustainable, quality and modern tourism development.”

The group recently made it to the news after serving as the major sponsor of the top billed welterweight match between Sen. Manny Pacquiao and American boxer Adrien Boner at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“This clarification is issued in light of reports and insinuations linking the DOT to the aforecited partylist, which strongly goes against the apolitical and nonpartisan nature of the agency whose primary mandate is to promote Philippine tourism,” the DOT said in a statement.

The Tourism department also reminded the public that all official communication of the agency, including press releases, statements and pronouncements can be accessed on the DOT website www.tourism.gov.ph. It added that it also updates its social media accounts, Facebook and Twitter regularly.

Wow Pilipinas drew flak last Sunday after its exposure during the match. The aspiring party-list’s logo was on the ring mat and in the corners.

Viewers and online users called the “shameless campaign” disgusting and “politicizing.” 

Some netizens also questioned who are behind the party-list's major sponsorship for the Pacquiao-Broner Match, citing that sponsorship costs millions of dollars.

According to the Certificate of Candidacy of Wow Pilipinas, these are the nominees:

  • Bernice Marie Angeles

  • Steven Anthony Relova

  • Kerwin S. Valero

  • Marvin H. Vallido

  • Edzel R. Encarnacion

Under the party-list system, nominees shall represent the marginalized sectors.               

In 2015, Mexican beer Tecate was the major sponsor of the historic match of Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather.

In a 2017 report of the Business Insider, it said that Tecate paid over $5.6 million (P295.4 million) for the single-fight sponsorship. It also said that the asking price for the title sponsor costs $10 million or P527.6 million, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

Wow Pilipinas justifies DOT’s clarification

For its part, Wow Pilipinas Party-list thanked the DOT for its clarification that they are not in any way related or affiliated.

“While our advocacy group composed of private individuals and groups from different regions support the DOT and all other stakeholders in championing the cause of tourism in the country, we are NOT a government entity with a public mandate or function,” the party said in a statement released Wednesday.

The party added that it is not aware of the insinuation or reports linking Wow Pilipinas to DOT.

It stressed that its party is “not receiving any form of support from DOT or other government agencies.

Wow Pilipinas said the party agrees that no government agency should be involved in any political or partisan exercise.

“We hope our separate statements clarify the issue at hand,” the party said.

“That said, Wow Pilipinas is more than willing to work with any group, associations, volunteers, and individuals who want to advance our advocacy of TRABAHO at TURISMO. We hope our thrust of championing tourism will reach more communities,” it added.

The election period for the 2019 mid-term elections began last January 13 but the campaign period for the national positions will begin on February 12.

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