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DOT's Romano resigns over tourism campaign fiasco

November 23, 2010 4:59pm

Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary Vicente Romano III, who heads the agency's planning and promotions, resigned his post on Tuesday afternoon as he took responsibility for the controversial "Pilipinas Kay Ganda" slogan and website.

In a verified resignation letter posted online, Romano admitted full responsibility for the botched tourism promotion campaign.

Creative process and execution

Romano defended the design of the logo, which had earlier been criticized as having been "plagiarized" from the 'Polska' tourism logo of Poland.

"Getting inspiration from existing designs is not an uncommon practice. In fact, in one of the definitions of plagiarism, it is stated that, 'While plagiarism is condemned in academia and journalism, in the arts it is often a major part of the creative process.' I did not consider it plagiarism then. I’m sorry others don’t feel the same way," Romano said.

He also said that he was "convinced" that the success of the Filipino-language slogan "is (just) a matter of execution."

"I honestly think a Manny Pacquiao saying 'Pilipinas kay Ganda' will make a world curious and try to find out what it means," he explained.

'Vote of no confidence'

However, Romano acceded to widespread public clamor against the campaign.

"I take the rejection of the brand by the people as a vote of 'no confidence' not just for the brand, but also for the person behind it. I take full responsibility for the branding controversy, and for this reason I am tendering my irrevocable resignation," he said.

Romano admitted that the campaign was still just a "work in progress" at the time of its "preview" last November 15, but he made the decision to promote the event in the hopes of gaining public support for the brand.

'Lost opportunity'

"I am fully convinced that every day we do not run a campaign is a lost opportunity to boost our tourism arrivals. It is a lost opportunity to generate jobs and alleviate poverty," he expalined.

"I now realize a consultation process is long and arduous, and my attempt to fast-track the consultation process is one of the reasons why it failed," Romano admitted.

Aquino accepts 'honorable' resignation

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has already accepted Romano's resignation.

"(Romano) offered his resignation, he admitted his mistake, it was honorable of him to offer his resignation, and the president respects him for his act. It is with reluctance that the president accepted his resignation," Lacierda said.TJ Dimacali with Jam L. Sisante/JV, GMANews.TV
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