Resigned Tourism Undersecretary Vicente Romano confirmed to ABS-CBN News that his daughter Denise was involved in the launch of the Pilipinas Kay Ganda Project last November 15. Romano says he asked Denise, a director of corporate events and presentations for private companies, to handle the events direction since he wanted someone he could trust.

Romano indicated to ABS-CBN that he put a premium on the urgency of the project over the possible questions of impropriety and delicadeza in hiring Denise. “Yung daughter ko ang kinuha kong director malinaw yun na pro bono yun. Ang dahilan dun kaya ko siya kunuha we had 3-4 weeks of preparations I needed someone I can trust medyo technical ang production. Ako di ko kinoconsider na improperity yun I just want to deliver a good event para makumbinse na yung pupunta that brand is something they can introduce”

Denise is a broadcast communication graduate form the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She is currently head of an events company whose clients include big companies. “she heads events company called csi yun yung mga kliyente microsoft cisco, kaya siya kuha ko experienced siya sa corporate events”

Romano says his daughter directed the event pro-bono. Romano however clarified that neither  Denise nor anyone from his family was involved in the events supplier hired for the project, Ten Inch. “isa sa mga pinakalamalaki yan they had several projects before”

Romano says Ten Inch is a long time supplier of the DOT and won the contract for the project from an open bidding.

Romano says he is saddened Denise is being linked to the controversy

“dun ako nalulungkot pinpilit na ilink siya…kumabaga nakadapa na nga

…concern ko kasi roon was in production highly technical I just wanted to make sure hindi papalpak.I made it clear I introduced her to the team

Given time constraint I preferred to consider na successful dapat yung launch.”

Romano says the almost P5m he spent for the night of the launch alone was justified and even less expensive than similar events in the private sector.

“Just to put in perspective typical corporate event will be more expensive. Maski sa dot pakalkal mo lahat ng evants na stage nila This is very comparable considering you have 700”

Romano urged his critics to move on.

For his part, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim told ABS-CBN by phone that he is investigating the involvement of Romano’s daughter, though he hastened to add that any administrative liabilities have been extinguished by his resignation. Lim say “ it’s a matter of delicadeza” on Romano’s part.

Lim also urged the public to move on from the issue.


Meanwhile, Former Senator Richard Gordon, who was also Tourism Secretary of Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, told ABS-CBN at the sidelines of the ongoing Tourism Congress that government should revive Holiday Economics to help perk up the industry after the flak for Pilipinas Kay Ganda.

““tuloy nila holiday economic pagkat yun nakapagbibigay daan para makpaglano“

He also advised government to implement the Tourism Act of 2009 and activate the Tourism Promotion Board, which is a public-private partnership with 5 representatives from the industry and 4 from government.

Gordon says the Tourism Promotion board insulates policy from partisan politics.”tourism promotion board will assure continuity…di adhoc…there is a problem even within tourism dept and trade

marami ditto nayamot dahil di nila nirerecognize tourism promotion board”

Gordon also called on government to implement  tourism enterprise zones that will give tax perks to tourist areas.

He also urged government to  just stick to Wow Philippines and strengthen it as a brand.

“kailangan ba palitan wow phikippines? lagyan mo ng tagline. wow Philippines di naman magagalit tao kungdi ginusto sanay na sila dyanwow pilipinas tuloy tuloy na. Di basta basta maglaunch ng maglaunch ka mahal”

Gordon says the wow Philippines brand can be easily tailor fittend and played around with marketing people to market tourist spots.

“wow bohol watch our whales sa dongsol wild over water sa Cagayan. pwede paglaruan”

On the Other hand, Arroyo’s other Tourism Secretary, Joseph Ace Durano, advised government to expand  its partnership with the private sector for a marketing strategy. “ Dot should collaborate with industry stakeholders in formulating and executing a marketing strategy. I believe this is what the private sector is waiting for”

Just last week, Durano expressed surprise at his successor’s decision to change the Wow Philippines Brand.


Reached via text message, Durano said, “First thing that came to mind when i heard about it is why?’ i had this rule of thumb when assessing existing programs in dot. First, is it still needed?

If yes, how can we improve on it? I’m more interested to find out the process they undertook in deciding to adopt a new logo and slogan and the creative process in coming up w/ Pilipinas kay ganda.


Durano urged the DOT to show how the new slogan fits into their marketing plan for the country. Durano said the country, under the Wow Philippines brand, even in his last months in office, continued to bring in many tourists. “Cant really remember the actual percentage i just remember that first 3 months saw a double digit growth in foreign tourist arrivals…A logo and the accompanying slogan should just be a component of an umbrella marketing strategy otherwise the logo and slogan is hallow and ineffective. Its the strategy and its proper execution that results in tourist arrivals. Dot shod present its marketing strategy and its various implementing programs then explain how the new logo and slogan fit into the strategy.”