Binay urges DOT to seek apology from Indonesian minister over PH tourism video

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — Sen. Nancy Binay on Tuesday urged the Department of Tourism (DOT) to demand an apology from Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno over his statement on the Philippines' controversial tourism video that used foreign stock footage.

Citing a report from the Jakarta Globe, Uno said he was intrigued by the paddy field scenery in the campaign video presented by the Philippines at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on June 21.

The minister claimed it "looks like Indonesian scenery," but added he may have been confused because of the similarities between Indonesia and the Philippines being tropical and archipelagic nations.

But during the DOT budget deliberations, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco refuted claims that there are any rice terraces or footage of Ubud, Bali shown during the event. She asserted that the video that was presented was about Cebu tourism.

"The video that was shown was made in-house. We deny showing any photos using images of Bali," Frasco said.

Binay, who chairs the Senate tourism committee, questioned where the Indonesian minister's statement came from.

"Nagtataka ako kung saan hinugot ni tourism minister 'yung sinabi niya na it was the same when you're telling me now na walang rice paddies doon na prinesent niyong video," she said.

[Translation: I was wondering where his statement came from when you're telling me now that there are no rice paddies in the video that you presented.]

"I think if you are standing by that statement, he should apologize to us," Binay added. "He is lying based on your statements… You should demand an apology."

Binay also urged the DOT to issue a statement denying Uno's allegations, saying his statement was "very damaging." She also asked Frasco to write a formal letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo regarding the matter.

Frasco said the DOT previously reached out to the Ministry of Indonesia through diplomatic channels, but has not yet received any response.

On June 27, the DOT unveiled its new "Love the Philippines" campaign, which drew flak after it was found that the advertisement agency used foreign stock footage due to lack of funds.

Frasco earlier told CNN Philippines' The Source that the DOT spent ₱49 million on the new campaign and slogan.