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Vincente R. Romano III – DOT November 23, 2010 My name is Enteng Romano – Undersecretary for Planning and Promotions. And I’m responsible for the Pilipinas Kay Ganda Branding. In the last 7 days, there have been issues and criticisms raised against the branding. I have answered some of them in my Facebook page. But there are others left unanswered. Allow me to address them now First, the issue on plagiarism. I instructed Campaigns & Grey to take inspiration from the European logos – particularly that of Polska, Espana, Portugal, Italia, and Maldives in order to project a visual impact of fun and natural beauty. The final design had similarities with the Polska logo, but the design elements and the visual presentation are distinctive enough to be clearly differentiated. 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. Neither the Department nor Campaigns & Grey has done anything immoral, much less illegal. At worst, it might have offended the sensitivities of a people who take pride in its creative spirit. For that I’m truly sorry. I hope this puts to rest the unfair criticisms being hurled against Campaigns & Grey. I am fully responsible for the final design. Second, there’s also a lot of criticism about using a Pilipino slogan in communicating to the foreign market. I am still convinced it is a matter of execution. I honesty think a Manny Pacquiao saying “Pilipinas kay Ganda” will make a world curious and try to find out what it means. Third, the Department is being criticized for the lack of consultation with the industry stakeholders before the introduction of the initial brand concept. We made it clear that the November 15 event was simply a preview, both in the invitation and in the Opening Speech of Sec. Bertie Lim. It was a “work in progress.” And we marked the event with fanfare in the hope that we can excite the audience enough to get their support for the brand.

I was, of course, wrong. 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. My friends ask me, why the rush? Well, it’s because I’m in a hurry. Before I joined government, I was in the streets clamoring for change. And when I joined, I wanted to spend every waking hour effecting that change. I’m in a hurry to have an advertising campaign going on by the first quarter of 2011. Because 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. I now realize that an idea as big as a new country brand needs time to germinate and blossom. There are no shortcuts. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest apologies to President Aquino, Secretary Lim, and the Filipino people for the controversy that this branding exercise has generated. When I presented the brand to the President, he had his own misgivings about the brand and specifically instructed me to do a comprehensive market research before launching it. I assured him it was just a preview event and that we will do research after. Secretary Lim also asked me to postpone the event given the President’s concern, but I persisted. I thank both of them for trusting me enough to let me go ahead with the event. But in the end, it is the trust of the people that really matters. A public office is a public trust. That’s why the President always says, “Kayo ang boss ko.” 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 effective immediately. I hope this puts closure on the issue. I now appeal to the industry stakeholders, to media, and to the general public to put this behind us and rally behind Secretary Lim, whose only fault in this whole controversy is in trusting me completely.

I have seen his reform agenda, and I am convinced it will help grow our tourism industry. He needs all our support to make this happen. In the end, what matters most is a vibrant economy that will uplift the conditions of our people. And tourism has the potential to fuel the much-needed economic growth. To my newfound friends in the Department and the industry, thank you for sharing your lives with me, even if only for a short time. To my friends and family, thank you for standing by me throughout all of this. And to my dad, mom, wife, children and grandchildren, rest assured that I have not done anything to put our family name to shame. I was just a in a hurry to see change happen in the motherland we all love. And, to our God who promised that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him… I look forward with eager anticipation to the good that will come out of this. Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with a nation so beautiful. Pilipinas kay Ganda.

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