The video clip from Dubai taken from the Storyblocks website.


Philippine tourism video using Dubai footage sparks outrage

Filipinos took to social media to express outrage after a Philippine tourism video used stock footage taken from Dubai and other foreign locations.

“This is an insult to all the beautiful places in the Philippines, to the creatives who can produce world-class videos, and most specially, to the Filipino people,” Davao-based public service worker Ry Llanes posted on Facebook, echoing the sentiments of hundreds of Filipinos.

The controversial video was a project of the Department of Tourism (DOT) under its newly launched slogan “Love the Philippines”. It has since been deleted on the DOT’s social media pages, with the department vowing that it will launch an “in-depth investigation” into the use of stock footage in the promotional video. The department added that it repeatedly asked its agency regarding the authenticity of the materials and was “assured” they were original.

The authenticity of the video clips was first flagged by vlogger Sass Rogando Sasot, who pointed out that at least five were stock footages from the Storyblocks website “and worse, not shot in the Philippines”. One of the video clips showed a person driving a buggy in a desert in Dubai, while another one showed rice terraces in Indonesia. Another video clip showed the silhouette of a fisherman casting his net. He is seen wearing a woven hat that is not native to the Philippines.

DDB Philippines, the agency that created the video, has issued an apology, saying it was an “unfortunate oversight” on their part. The agency won the bid to produce promotional videos for DOT with a budget of P49 million (Dh3.3 million). The DOT said “no public funds have been paid” for the video in question, adding that DDB produced the video “at its own expense” to support the tourism campaign.

On Monday (July 3), the DOT said it has opted to terminate its contract with advertising agency. Earlier, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco clarified that the video was “just a primer”. However, this did not stop netizens from criticizing the DOT. “I would have thought Frasco, as head of tourism, checked the video first before its final launching of Love the Philippines tourism teaser advert. DOT should make sure Filipino taxpayers’ money is spent adequately considering this teaser costs millions,” Rissa Mar said.

“If it was a mood video for pitch purposes, why was it released? Who authorized the release?” John Ornel Guion said. “Plagiarism. This should be called ‘Rob the Philippines, instead of ‘Love the Philippines’,” Michael M wrote on Facebook. Meanwhile, dozens have called for the resignation of DOT officials over the “disgraceful” incident and fiasco.

Lawmakers react

Senator Nancy Binay, who also chairs the Committee on Tourism, said the DOT should be cautious in securing a multi-million peso campaign video such as this, adding that the department should take accountability.  “There must be accountability because the DOT spends the public’s fund to pay advertisement agencies,” she said in Filipino.

Lawmaker France Castro echoed the same sentiment, adding that the use of “deceptive” stock footage undermines the credibility and integrity of the country’s tourism industry. “We should be showcasing the unique culture, heritage, and natural wonders that make the Philippines truly remarkable.” ICA/Expat Media

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