After, I first wrote this post, regarding the possible plagiarism of a marketmanila post, I wrote Secretary Jimenez and several undersecretaries at the Department of Tourism. The Secretary, a day or two later, apparently issued a memo to DOT emplouyees to remind them to ensure that they do not plagiarize materials. I also received an email from the Secretary’s Chief of Staff, Atty. Kaw which I published in my second post on the matter.
I was more than happy to wait a reasonable interval for a proper and comprehensive response, but wrote this follow-up post after a member of the DOT staff was quoted in by GMA News appearing to make light of the matter soon after I published my first post.
After waiting patiently for a week, more than enough time to get to “the bottom of things” and answer the questions I had posed… I sent Atty. Kaw this email on November 9, 2011:
“Dear Atty. Kaw,
A full week has passed since I first emailed regarding the issue of a possible plagiarized article.
Surely that would have been sufficient time to locate the outside contractor, supplier, and identify the writer and get to the bottom of the issue.
Please let me know what the status of the inquiry is so we can put the issue to rest, after all stealing is stealing, EVEN if the stolen item is eventually returned. And in this case, the stolen article was merely taken down after two+ years on the net.
I received this reply from Atty. Kaw on the same day, 9 November 2011:
Thank you for the reminder below. Was really intending to email you our findings, but urgent work and pressing commitements have unfortunately eaten up my time. Just to share with you, we’ll be having the meetings of the Tourism Congress, an organization of industry stakeholders that we have been trying to unite the last 2-3 months since the Secretary and I assumed office last September. The meetings will be this Thursday and Friday and their unity is crucial to the future of tourism in our country.
In any case, I have already received reports from the previously contracted web administrator and from our own IT team. Will be sharing with you the content of those reports. With your kind indulgence, please give me until on or before Friday to email you my findings.
As always, thank you for your patience and kind understanding.
Atty.EUGENE T. KAW
Sent from my BlackBerry® via Globe”
The only reasonable interpretation of this email is that a response was forthcoming “on or before Friday” or November 11, 2011, two days later. He claimed to already have all of the information necessary in order to formulate the Department’s reply, but was busy on other more important business.
Well, Friday, November 11 came and went, so did the 12th, the 13th, the 14th and so on until the end of business today, the 18th or a full week later, and still there is no answer. Ridiculous. It’s bad enough the questions of plagiarism are rather simple — in other words, did someone STEAL or NOT STEAL materials from marketmanila, and did the DOT publish those materials publicly and left them up AVAILABLE to the PUBLIC for several years among other basic questions… I realize in the scheme of things this is a minor issue. But stealing is stealing. And at least have the balls to admit if that was indeed the case.
And in the news today… Secretary Jimenez is reported as thinking the key to increasing tourist arrivals and “changing the game” is simply to use the social networking sites and the fabulously warm and generous Filipino demeanor, spirit and hospitality (yup, let’s not highlight inadequate infrastructure, high hotel rates, lack of rooms in the right places, petty theft and scams, pathetic airports and gateways, expensive transportation, whole regions that are blacklisted by foreign governments, unsafe tourist buses, taxis and interisland ferries, etc., etc.)??? If I have time tomorrow before a lengthy journey, I may write a post on my personal opinions with respect to that. In the meantime, can I just have some answers to my questions, please?
P.S. In the last few weeks, Marketman/Zubuchon has been magnanimous regardless of the current unanswered questions. First, in a request from the DOT to host a visiting Taiwanese television program who sent several celebrities and crew to film lechons roasting for a travel segment to be televised in Taiwan, Hong Kong & Southern China, we agreed to what was supposed to be a quick visit to our production facilities. An hour or two turned into 4-5 hours of filming, disrupting our normal operations, AND since they were still around by lunchtime, we hosted them for lunch at one of our restaurants where they continued to film and EAT.
Several days later, at the DOT Visayas Head’s request, I agreed to meet with her and staff for lunch, also at Zubuchon, and while she proferred apologies for the plagiarism issue, we mostly spent lunch brainstorming ideas for how to improve tourism in Cebu and the Visayas, a pleasant exchange.
Then several days later, at the request of DOT Manila, we were again asked to host visiting American guests from Tennessee who wanted to see lechons roasting (for a special event in May in Tennessee where they are having a Filipino festival) for which Mrs. MM spent a lunch and some time touring the group. They also ate at Zubuchon.
So you see, I DO KNOW HOW TO DO MY PART TO PROMOTE our wonderful country and am happy to do so. Now if only our bureaucrats figured out how not to screw that up… TSK. TSK.