The Department of Tourism (DOT) is currently in hot water under the leadership of Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia Frasco, following a controversy surrounding the launch of their new slogan, “Love the Philippines.”

Instead of showcasing the beautiful Philippines as intended, different locations were featured in the promotional materials. In other words, there was a major blunder in the materials used, as they highlighted places other than the Philippines.

Critics, as well as critical observers, consider this a significant mistake on the part of the DOT. On the other hand, allies may argue that it’s okay because everyone makes mistakes.

However, we cannot disregard the criticism because of the principle of “presumption of regularity”. This means that each image shown in the promotional materials should undergo careful scrutiny because every tone and every word that appears in such materials, especially when promoting a country, carries meaning.

In an advertising company, every moment counts. Personally, I can’t fully comprehend how such an audio-visual presentation material passed without undergoing careful scrutiny by the secretary herself. It can only mean that even the DOT secretary is a tourist in her own country?

Didn’t she know what kind of places were included in the audio-visual presentation? Wasn’t it shown to her before it was released? A huge blunder occurred, and it shows incompetence in her job.

It was a big launch, especially considering it was the 50th anniversary of the DOT. If she didn’t verify every detail of the video, she committed a major negligence. You even hired a consultant, yet the quality was lacking. A significant amount of money was involved in the transaction, and it was a massive project, but this is all the result you produced?

DDB Philippines, the advertising company in question, can also be considered very irresponsible. Aside from the copyright violation they committed, they deceived the client and the entire country. Why would you use video footages that are not from the Philippines when you are promoting the country itself?

What they did to the client was a huge disrespect, and the DOT also committed a significant negligence in allowing these things to happen. This means that even the officials of the DOT are not familiar with the places in the Philippines?

According to some, we should move on, but is that all we should do? Should we simply forget the disrespect that occurred? The Philippines has so many beautiful places, so why did they fall short in finding suitable footage for the video?

What the consultant did was a mortal sin, meaning they lacked effort and settled for videos that were not well-researched.

Wow, I doubt why the Secretary was appointed for that job. What is her background aside from being a lawyer? Just because she is a lawyer doesn’t mean she knows everything in the world. I hope she takes a moment to reflect on whether she is deserving of that position.

The DOT’s decision to hire consultants from other places, while there are many talented individuals within the DOT itself, is a lesson learned. Even in Catanduanes, the video footages from the provincial Tourism Office have a higher quality. Why would they hire foreign consultants when there are skilled Filipinos available, and they have to pay 250 million for it?

Our suggestion is that if they do hire consultants for such projects, they should prioritize those who have Filipino blood and a deeper understanding of our own country. It’s not only cost-effective but also comes from the heart, as they can truly feel their Pinoy identity.

If the DOT creates a new promotional material, it should have labels indicating the locations so that viewers know which places are featured in the video. If the video had undergone careful scrutiny, the secretary should have asked about the locations. This means it didn’t go through her, and what the secretary did was approve it without thinking.

To inform us about the profile of the youngest secretary in Marcos’ administration, I gathered information from the DOT website for your review.

Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia Frasco (born December 25, 1981) is the current Secretary of the Department of Tourism after being appointed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in 2022, and the youngest member of the Cabinet so far. She is a lawyer, having graduated from Ateneo Law.


The Secretary of Tourism is the newly-reelected Mayor of Liloan, Cebu. Her transformational leadership has fostered Liloan’s development towards sustainability, livability, and innovation with aggressive infrastructure development and social protection programs earning awards for Liloan as the Top Model Municipality and Most Resilient Municipality in the Philippines. Under her administration, Liloan now has one of the largest educational scholarship programs in the country, with year round arts, culture, and sports tourism programs.

Throughout the challenges of the pandemic and the super typhoon that recently devastated Cebu, she has led Liloan’s recovery and resurgence towards becoming the LGU with the highest growth rate in Cebu.

Under her leadership, Liloan has the distinction of being a four-time recipient of the highest audit rating given by the Commission on Audit, and it has received more than 40 good governance awards and citations from local and national award-giving bodies.

In 2021, she was awarded the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Regional Award by the Civil Service Commission in its Search for Outstanding Government Workers. She was also ranked the Top Performing Mayor in Central Visayas, ranking number 1 among all Municipal Mayors in the entire Region 7.

She is the first woman President of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Cebu, and the National Vice President of the League of Municipalities. Prior to entering public service, she worked for Romulo Law practicing international arbitration and commercial litigation.

She was also a Professor at the University of San Carlos College of Law. She was appointed by Vice President Sara Duterte as her Spokesperson for the 2022 National Elections. (fb eye/Ferdie Brizo/BicolPeryodiko)