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DOT orders probe over alleged stock footage in 'Love the Philippines' campaign

The Department of Tourism (DOT) ordered an investigation on Saturday into allegations that the ''Love the Philippines'' campaign video aimed at attracting international visitors to the country contained ''non-original shots.''

Blogger Sass Sasot alleged in a Facebook post that the tourism video used several stock video clips from Storyblocks, a subscription-based stock footage website, that were not shot in the Philippines.

Sasot said at least five scenes were shot in other countries: rice terraces (Bali, Indonesia); a fisherman throwing a net (Thailand); a passenger plane approaching the runway (Zurich, Switzerland); jumping dolphins (unspecified location but not in the Philippines); and a person driving a vehicle on sand dunes (Dubai, the United Arab Emirates).

''As one of the many other forthcoming components of the launch of the enhanced tourism campaign, the DOT’s contracted agency, DDB Philippines, prepared and published an audiovisual presentation [that] has recently been the subject of scrutiny on the alleged use of non-original shots in certain parts of the AVP,'' the department said in a statement.

''The DOT is currently conducting an exhaustive investigation to determine the veracity of, and to gather the full faculty of facts on, these allegations.''

Prior to the launch of the new tourism slogan on June 27, the DOT said it had ''repeatedly sought confirmation from DDB on the originality and ownership of all materials contained in the AVPs and key visuals'' presented to the agency.

''[O]n all these occasions, DDB repeatedly assured the DOT that the originality and ownership of all materials [were] in order,'' the DOT said.  

No public funds were used for the questioned video as this was ''released on the account of DDB,'' the DOT said, adding that it ''holds the responsibility of promoting the country to the highest standard.'' 

''Therefore, it will not hesitate to exact accountability and take the necessary action to protect the interest of the country even as it continues to exhaust all efforts to develop and promote the Philippine tourism industry,'' the department said. —VBL, GMA Integrated News