Wasn’t it just about a year ago that the Philippine Department of Tourism was embarrassed by alleged plagiarism with its proposed “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” logo that they hotly denied was lifted from the Polish National Tourism Office? Despite the denials, the Department Secretary and the President of the Republic decided to junk the new logo, which blogger Spanky Enriquez first brought to light for its striking resemblance to the Polish logo in his posts, here. Well, this isn’t of the same calibre of importance, a national logo about to be splashed all over the globe, but the principle is absolutely one and the same. Possibly stolen intellectual property. And the article stolen? Lifted WORD FOR WORD from marketmanila.com! OUTRAGEOUS!
Several years ago, we bumped into a foreign friend of ours on the street and she hurriedly mentioned in passing that she saw mention of Marketman in the website of the Department of Tourism. She didn’t have more details, and I let it pass without further thought. Then the other day, I was looking up top 10 favorite pinoy dishes from my blog, and the search engines led me to this page on the Philippine Department of Tourism website. I took a screen shot of the page up top, so that they can’t say I was dreaming if they pull it off after I publish this post. Take a brief read through the article under the title: Review by trinadelro on Top Ten Foods dated Dec 26, 2008 I AM DOING THIS FROM 10 TO 1 and then COMPARE IT to the following portion of a post I wrote entitled “Putahe Idol — The Results” dated 20 June 2006:
10. Tinola — another satisfying comfort food that is a complete meal in a bowl with protein, vegetables, fruit, soup and flavor — lots of rice, patis and kalamansi on the side, please.
9. Monggo — Definitely a top 10 though possibly one of those highly adapted/adopted dishes from the Chinese Mainland. Nutritious, delicious and economical.
8. Lumpiang Sariwa — Yes. Ever since those Americans pushed all those coconut plantations we had to figure out how to use palm hearts and this is a brilliant manifestation. Some family friends send over this stuff at Christmas after a long, slow simmer in pork lard and it is stunningly delicious and stunningly deadly on the cholesterol meter. I like the accompanying sauce, but oddly, keep my chopped peanuts on the side.
7. Inihaw na Isda — Yes. This was a difficult one to lump into one as voters sometimes specified the fish, but suffice it to say that grilled fresh fish is on most folks Top 10 list.
6. Daing or Pritong Bangus — Yes. And Marketman says you MUST have a fish pan to go with that, Mylai Dimaculanganâ€™s asideâ€¦heehee.
5. Pinakbet — Yes. Yes. Yes. An Asian ratatouille? No. A native vegetable dish that can range from horrific to sublime depending on how it is cooked. Acquired taste because of the bagoong, I think. This is definitely in my personal top 10.
4. Lechon — No wonder this is the stuff of Fiesta dreams, folks really do place it in a super high regard. I personally would have it lower on the list. Though I LOVE good lechon skin and ribs, I just donâ€™t think it should be that high up in the rankingsâ€¦
3. Kare-kare — A surprise for me, but nearly 50% of all voters had this on their list and it garnered the third largest number of votes. I was never a big fan and perhaps I always got bum examples of this dish so after seeing these results I read up on kare-kare and spent nearly four hours trying to make the ultimate version (in a post up next!).
2. Adobo — Duhh. Nearly 60% of all respondents had this on their list of Top 10 Pinoy Putahes. No wonder they say it should be the national dish. And yes, I believe it existed before the Spaniards got here and they named it so due to similarities with dishes in Mexico/Spain.
1. Sinigang — Sinigang na Baboy was the third largest individually voted dish. However, 4 Sinigang versions were in the top 13 dishes so if you grouped them as a “Sinigang” option, this was far and away the absolute favorite. Approximately 80% of all respondents had one or more types of Sinigang in their Top 10 list. I totally agree with this choice. Whether pork, beef, prawn, shrimp, bangus, talakitok or other protein with the sour broth of tamarind (or guava, kamias, etc.) and fresh vegetables, this is truly the number 1 Pinoy dish in my book.
THEY ARE EXACTLY THE SAME WORDS AND IDEAS AND CONTENT! No attempt was made to even re-write it to make it more appropriate for the Tourism website. She left in unrelated references to people (fishpan people) and personal opinions on dishes that I wrote and which are repeated on the DOT website. And at the bottom of the page, the DOT claims copyright over the material published on the page. Do they even know what that means??? Is there no shame? Are people really so damn lazy? Don’t they have any self respect? Are they going to claim they didn’t think there was anything wrong with this???
This is absurd. Let’s consider for a moment the best possible answer, that the writer, a Ms. trinadelro, had asked for and was granted written permission to use the article for the Department of Tourism website. This is not impossible, as I grant such permission often, as long as readers write in and formally ask, and it is for a non-commercial purpose, but I ALWAYS INSIST on PROPER ATTRIBUTION and a LINK BACK to the original material. So EVEN if Ms. trinadelro can show that she sought and received permission from me, there is no proper attribution and no link back to the original article, so the permission is null and void. Worse, the article clearly appears under the byline of Ms. trinadelro, and entitled “Review by trinadelro on Top Ten Foods”. She also has the temerity to title it further by saying “I AM DOING THIS FROM 10 to 1” — which is exactly the way it appeared in my blog.
So here are my questions for the Department of Tourism, and I shall send an email to the Secretary and the webmaster of the DOT website after I finish this post.
1. Who is Ms. trinadelro? Was she a staff writer for the Department of Tourism? Or was she a freelance writer contracted by the Department of Tourism to write an article related to Philippine Food? Was she a subcontractor of the DOT’s website designer? Or was she hired by an advertising agency who put together the website? Was she paid for this article? Is her full name Katrina del Rosario (a fairly common name), or is something else? Does she work as a freelance writer who sells her work on the internet?
2. Once she has been properly identified, I would like to know if Ms. trinadelro realizes that lifting part of an article originally written by me on this website, marketmanila.com, and previously read by thousands of regulars on the blog, is universally considered to be outright plagiarism? Even if she can show me that permission was sought and received from me in writing (email), then why is the article appearing under her byline as author? Why is there no mention of source? Why is there no link back to the original source? Who is the responsible DOT staff member who reviewed this article and agreed to publish it without editing it and checking it was an original piece of work?
3. What are Ms. trinadelro’s credentials with respect to food writing or reviewing? How did she do the data collection, the research and compilation of results to write the article. If I recall correctly, this marketmanila.com post was based on several hundred reader responses and over 1,200 votes for top dishes that took over two days to collate and rank. Can Ms. trinadelro show me her workpapers to show she did this independently?
4. Is the Department of Tourism so incapable of writing a few intelligent and descriptive paragraphs about filipino food? Particularly since it appears on the government’s tourism website for millions of potential visitors to read before they plan a visit to the country? Why didn’t you just ask me or other food bloggers or food writers to write a piece, and give due recognition to the real author(s)? I have worked peripherally on related types of pieces, even got mentioned in a recent article for Esquire Magazine in the UK for a dinner I attended with DOT representatives, appeared on three international food television shows with a combined audience of viewers in excess of 200 million promoting Pinoy food, and dozens of local newspapers and food magazines as well. Not germane to this discussion, but ironic nonetheless, my father happens to have been a DOT Undersecretary under President Aquino’s mother, Cory…
As a private citizen that has done more than my fair share of promotion for Philippine cuisine and food culture, restaurants, local travel spots, hotels, etc. over the years, I am particularly dismayed to see the Philippine Tourism website so shoddily devoid of properly written, interesting and useful content on the topic of filipino food, other than this likely plagiarized article which is even more bizarre when presented out of context. Shame on the Department of Tourism! Shame on trinadelro, the credited writer! How embarrassing that the DOT got caught for an allegedly plagiarized tourism logo last November, when a full two years earlier, the DOT website already contained what appears to be a plagiarized article from marketmanila.com. I would like a full and comprehensive explanation from the DOT and the author, a contact address or telephone number for trinadelro, and I would at the very least expect a sincere public apology from the DOT and Ms. trinadelro, if the article was indeed plagiarized. Note: The photos are NOT from the marketmanila.com website, but appear to be taken from other websites, some of them with watermark or name. I hope for the author’s sake, she has permission to use those photos as well.
If readers are as irritated as I am, you may wish to send a short email (with a link to this post) to the following people to ask, if in fact, the article in question, was plagiarized by Ms. trinadelro from the marketmanila.com website. Thank you.
Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr.
Secretary, Department of Tourism
Daniel G. Corpuz
Undersecretary, Tourism Planning & Promotions
Director Rolando Canizal
Office of Tourism Development, Planning, Reasearch & Information Management