News Commentary

'Kay Ganda' gets more flak


MANILA, Philippines - Less than a week after the introduction of the new tourism brand of the Philippines, “Pilipinas Kay Ganda,” the Department of Tourism (DOT) has been pounded with criticisms, the latest of which is the accusation that the slogan’s logo was lifted from Poland’s tourism campaign, Polska, abs-cbnnews.com reported.

The report said that a check with the official travel website of Poland yielded positive results – indeed their logo has a striking similarity to Pilipinas Kay Ganda, from the font, the colors, and even the use of a tree, bolstering accusations of plagiarism that have been making the rounds of social networking sites on the Internet.

The advertising agency Campaigns and Grey admitted it had a hand in the Pilipinas Kay Ganda tourism brand, but “only in an advisory capacity,” said Campaigns and Grey Group chair Yolly Ong.

She told ABS-CBN, “We only did the logo and theme line as I had to leave for a business trip.”

Off to US

Amid the plagiarism controversy, Tourism Undersecretary Vicente Romano III, who is in charge of the department’s planning and promotion section, flew to the United States.

DOT media relations chief Evelyn Macayayong said Romano, who left the country Tuesday night, was on an official trip as he is attending a diving exhibition in Las Vegas.

Macayayong said Romano was unaware of the plagiarism issue when he left the country, but he might have been informed about it by this time.

They only learned of the plagiarism allegation through social networking sites, Macayayong said.

“There seems to be some similarities in the two logos, particularly in the font style, but I think it’s not exactly the same. But the DOT will look into the alleged plagiarism,” she said.

Review sought

Meantime, two more senators called on the DOT to review its new slogan aimed at promoting the country as a premiere tourism destination.?Senators Ralph Recto and Francis Escudero joined the others in criticizing the slogan Pilipinas Kay Ganda, adding that the government should focus on improving further the country’s infrastructure to make it more attractive to tourists.?Recto said he will discuss the issue with Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, noting that the old slogan “WOW Philippines” is preferred by many.?Escudero agreed with Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Loren Legarda, who made their stands known the other day during the plenary session.?“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Escudero said.?Zubiri, chairman of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, had manifested before the plenary yesterday that Lim will have to explain to the Senate during its budget deliberation next week how the department came up with the new slogan and how much was actually spent for it.?“I wonder what the action plan of the Tourism Department is. I would be propounding questions to the Department of Tourism on whose genius idea is it to come up with the slogan that is utilizing our native tongue, Filipino. It is all right if we are going to market the country to locals. But if we are trying to attract people from China, Korea, Japan, the EU countries, and the United States to visit us, on hearing Pilipinas Kay Ganda, they are going to scratch their head and say, ‘what the hell are these people talking about?’” Zubiri said. ?Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, for her part, said, “We cannot just have ‘a beautiful country’ because everyone says that.”

Suggested slogans

Ordinary folk, on the other hand, have come up with various recommendations on what would be a better tourism slogan.

Among the suggested slogans, aired on a radio station that launched a contest on the matter, are: “Pilipinas More Asia than Malaysia,” “Pilipinas Hirit,” “Pilipinas Bugbog ka sa Ganda” with boxing champ Manny Pacquiao as endorser, and “PH Cares.” With Christina Mendez, Mayen Jaymalin, AP

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