DOT on why it featured Quiboloy: ‘We returned the love sent our way’
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday defended its move to feature alleged child sex trafficker Apollo Quiboloy on their Facebook page, explaining that the department merely “returning the love sent their way” as it promoted the country’s newest tourism slogan.
To recall, the DOT in a series of posts on Facebook shared various tourism pages’ support for their controversial “Love the Philippines” slogan, including an interview with Quiboloy.
We couldn’t agree more, Pastor Apollo Carreon Quiboloy that #LoveThePhilippines is really from the heart of us Filipinos. Thank you for your love and support for Philippine tourism 🇵🇭
This particular move, however, garnered criticism from the public as Quiboloy currently faces sex–trafficking charges from United States prosecutors who alleged that girls and young women were coerced to have sex with him.
When asked why the agency decided to still share Quiboloy’s sentiments, the DOT explained that it is merely appreciative of his support for their new tourism campaign.
“As you can see from the page, we returned the love to those who sent it our way. We wish you a pleasant day ahead,” the DOT told reporters through Viber.
This isn’t the first time the DOT was embroiled in a controversy during their release of the brand new “Love the Philippines” slogan.
Just recently, DOT’s first “Love the Philippines” tourism promotion video received flak from locals who pointed out that it contained clips not from Philippines tourism sites but in Thailand, Indonesia, and United Arab Emirates.
The DOT has since terminated its contract with its partner advertising firm DDB Philippines, which, in turn, claimed that the promotion video the DOT uploaded was merely a “mood video” meant “to excite internal stakeholders.”
The agency has not yet explicitly stated whether it would rebrand the new tourism slogan, which had also received backlash from the public even prior to the stock footage controversy, or what its next move will be in its tourism drive, but assured the public that it would remain “fully committed to developing and promoting the Philippines as a powerhouse of natural wonders, culture and heritage, and a fount of warmth and hospitality.”