It has been a week since the drama of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) messy affair with McCann hit the internet, giving us something more entertaining than their allegedly plagiarized campaign. Besides countless debates and accusations, what’s also cringe-worthy is how they portrayed the Philippines as something way less sh*tty than the news makes it out to be. To say that “the Philippines is safe” is at best a bad joke in a time of rising death tolls.
In a less-than-spectacular display of damage control, the DOT has since announced that they are cutting ties with the agency, and are to “reopen the procurement process for the production of a new advertising material.” So just a word for the next agency collaborating with the DOT: 1.) go easy on the pegs, and 2.) stop banking on “safety” as the country’s main attraction.
In the ad, they’ve made it their main premise that we are a warm, loving people with places just as friendly to Persons with Disability (PWDs) — focusing on, naturally, vibrant tourist destinations outside our sketchy capital.
However, if they’re going to tap into the whole PWD/safety narrative, they can’t just make it seem as though Manila isn’t in the picture. According to the 2010 census, roughly 16 out of a thousand had disability in the Philippines, and among the regions, Region IV-A had the highest number of PWDs at 193,000, followed by the NCR with 167,000.