Binay wants apology from Indonesian exec for criticizing PH tourism video
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Nancy Binay said Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno should apologize to the Philippines after the latter supposedly claimed that a footage of Indonesian rice paddies was used in a tourism promotion video presented by the Department of Tourism (DOT) during the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in June.
Binay, chairperson of the Senate committee on tourism, raised the issue before the Senate committee on finance’s Tuesday hearing on the proposed P2.9-billion budget of the DOT for 2024.
“Saan galing yung statement noong Indonesian Tourism Minister that the rice fields ay parang sa Indonesia? May statement pa sya na nagpapasalamat that we are promoting Indonesia,” said Binay.
(Where did the Indonesian Tourism Minister’s statement come from that rice fields are like those in Indonesia? He even had a statement thanking us for promoting Indonesia.)
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said Uno was pertaining to the tourism video presented during the UNWTO conference in Cambodia, but Frasco repeatedly clarified that the video presented during the conference was not the same video used in the controversial “Love the Philippines” promotional advertisement.
“The video that was shown during the dinner hosted by the Philippine government did not use any of the footage that were used in the video launched to support the tourism branding,” said Frasco.
“We deny showing any photos using images of Bali during the dinner hosted by the Philippine government,” she added.
According to the DOT chief, the purpose of the dinner was to actually introduce Cebu as the host for the joint commission meetings for UNWTO in 2024.
“Therefore, the subject of the video that was shown were sceneries in Cebu, which definitely did not include [Indonesian views],” said Frasco.
This alarmed Binay who then prodded Frasco if the DOT had made an effort to correct Uno’s statement.
To this, Frasco answered that the DOT, through diplomatic channels, did reach out to the ministry of Indonesia, but has yet to receive an effort to rectify nor clarify the remark.
Binay then proceeded to ask Frasco if she had personally written to the Department of Foreign Affairs to “call out the attention” of the Indonesian official, but Frasco said no such effort had been made.
Meanwhile, Tourism Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Verna Esmeralda Buensuceso made it clear that the DOT has reached out and advised the Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy that the video presented during the dinner in Cambodia was “an in-house production” and was certainly “not about the [viral] video in question.”
“I think if you are standing by that statement, he should apologize to us,” said Binay.
The senator then challenged the DOT to issue a press release, denouncing Uno’s remark, but Frasco stressed that the Philippines exercises a “foreign policy of being a friend to all and enemy to none.”
“Obviously, he is not our friend, the mere fact that he is lying. I don’t see any reason why you can’t issue a statement tomorrow saying that he was not telling the truth,” Binay stressed.
In the end, Binay instructed Frasco to write a formal letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, pushing her to detail the events that transpired.
“Hindi natin ito pwedeng palampasin. If we don’t do anything, ‘yung statement niya ang [magiging] truth and not your truth,” said Binay.
(We can’t let this pass. If we don’t do anything, his statement will be the truth and not your truth.)