Tourism official quits after 'Pilipinas Kay Ganda' snafu

Posted at 11/23/2010 4:59 PM | Updated as of 11/23/2010 5:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Undersecretary Vicente "Enteng" Romano III of the Department of Tourism resigned Tuesday just days after President Benigno Aquino III scrapped the DOT's "Pilipinas Kay Ganda" tourism campaign.

Romano, who is in charge of the tourism department's planning and promotions section, took full responsibility for the much-criticized tourism campaign. He apologized to the President, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim and the Filipino people.

"The final design had similarities with the Polska logo, but the design elements and the visual presentation are distinctive enough to be clearly differentiated...At worst, it might have offended the sensitivities of a people who take pride in its creative spirit. For that I’m truly sorry," he said in a statement.

Tourism officials have been criticized for changing the department's WOW Philippines catchphrase to "Pilipinas Kay Ganda,” which means "Philippines so beautiful."

Critics have noted that foreigners will not be able to understand the brand since it is in Pilipino.

They also said the Pilipinas Kay Ganda font and colors was copied from the "Polska" logo of Poland's tourism website.

President Aquino earlier scrapped the logo, citing dissatisfaction from tourism stakeholders.

In earlier interviews, Lim said he first wanted to test "Pilipinas Kay Ganda" for a month or two before deciding whether to retain or scrap it. He had wanted to first subject it to focus group discussions, something he said the public overlooked when they assumed that the slogan was final.

But the outcry, he said, became too strong to overlook.