03 Nov2011

From GMA News On-Line, this story, which I reprint in full, or read the original post here.

TOURISM CHIEF WARNS EMPLOYEES AGAINST PLAGIARISM

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez on Thursday issued a warning about plagiarism to the agency’s employees, a day after a food blogger accused the department of copying his article word for word for a write-up posted on its website.

“Please always be circumspect and exercise due diligence in the drafting or writing of DOT (Department of Tourism) articles, communications, write-ups and the like either on the internet or on hard copy,” Jimenez said in a memorandum to all of the department’s offices.

He reminded the department’s employees of sanctions for plagiarism and copyright infringement as stipulated in Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

“[Please] ensure that all written materials coming from or identified with the DOT are originally written and they contain proper citation or attribution of source,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez also directed heads of offices to conduct a “complete and thorough” inventory of all articles and write-ups to check if they are originally written and contains proper attribution.

On Wednesday, a food blogger who uses the online name “Marketman” posted on his website an article claiming that the DOT “possibly” stole his intellectual property by copying a similar article he wrote in 2006. The same article was posted on the DOT website in December 2008, with a certain “trinadelro” as its author.

June Garduque, officer-in-charge of the DOT Information Technology division, however, said the write-up had long been taken down and only posted online as part of test runs conducted by the department while developing the website in 2008.

Last year, the DOT also faced criticism for copying the scrapped “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” logo from the Polish tourism logo. Officials of the DOT at that time denied this allegation. – Andreo C. Calonzo/KBK, GMA News”

I am pleased that Secretary Jimenez has seen fit to raise awareness against plagiarism. If there is one good result of this recent group of posts, it is that DOT employees will perhaps pay heed to the warning and be more meticulous about the materials they create or publish. I am grateful that the Secretary issued this memo to his staff, and hope that it will have a positive impact.

Yesterday, Mr. June Garduque was quoted on GMA News On-line as saying “Hindi kami nagpe-plagiarize. Hindi kami naglalagay ng information na hindi galing sa amin. We are very mindful of our content.”

Perhaps Mr. Garduque will follow his Secretary’s advise and review the DOT website to ensure it does not include any material “na hindi galing sa amin.” Below is just but ONE example worth reviewing…

In the DOT Philippines website, under Business & Investments, Doing Business in the Philippines, there is this question and answer, and I quote:

“What is the general policy of the government for foreign investments?

The government recognizes the pivotal role of private sector investments and, thereby, commits to continuously enhance the business climate. Foreign investments are encouraged to fill in capital gaps, help provide employment, increase production, and provide a base for the overall development of the economy.

Investment rules and regulations have thus been liberalized to facilitate entry of foreign investments.”

The source given for this information is the “Primer on Tourism Investment in the Philippines” which appears to be authored by the Department of Tourism – Investments Promotion Group.

However, the identical question and identical first paragraph of the answer appears as part of a much lengthier overall Primer on Foreign Investments in the Philippines issued by a Philippine law firm, and I quote:

“What is the general policy of the government for foreign investments?

The government recognizes the pivotal role of private sector investments and, thereby, commits to continuously enhance the business climate. Foreign investments are encouraged to fill in capital gaps, help provide employment, increase production, and provide a base for the overall development of the economy.

…(This article was is a product of Zambrano and Gruba Law Offices (www.zglaw.com) of Manila, Philippines and is not to be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For inquiries on this article, please email Jack Advincula, a partner of Zambrano and Gruba, at apadvincula@zglaw.com)”

So who wrote what? And who borrowed from whom? Did the law office write it, and the DOT use it without attribution or did the DOT pay the law office to write it? Or did the DOT write it, and the law office use it verbatim without attribution to the DOT? Did another government agency like the BOI issue a standard FAQ’s primer for all government agencies to use? Who knows? But it certainly suggests that copying and replication without proper attribution is more rampant than it should be. And if you keep searching, you will see the exact same paragraph in several other websites often without sufficient attribution or a link to original source.

So thank you Secretary Jimenez for your swift warning against plagiarism today, it is a very positive step in the right direction. Now if only we can figure out answers to the questions I posed regarding identification of the author “trinadelro,” whether she plagiarized material or not from marketmanila.com, the length of time the material was posted (even if a test) on the DOT website, and for how long it was available through search engines. Despite Mr. Garduque’s assertions that the page in question was taken down over two years ago, the page was still available until yesterday morning through google, a common search vehicle.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. kai says:

    Nag paka-ulaw ra gud ning si Garduque… IT division pa naman sana. I don’t know if they have a code of professional conduct and professional ethics, Garduque clearly missed it.

    Good thing Sec. Jimenez took this seriously, DOT needs a good re-calibrating.

    Nov 3, 2011 | 10:53 pm

     
  2. KC says:

    Marketman…so much respect for you.

    Nov 3, 2011 | 11:14 pm

     
  3. MP says:

    Whew, glad to know I was “right” about Sec Jimenez. I was actually very happy when he was appointed to the post but was equally surprised he accepted considering he had to give up a lucrative career in the private sector. Now I am more hopeful about our DOT and by extension, our tourism industry….

    So MM, one good news after another…. 1) DOT Secretary taking plagiarism seriously and 2) Shooting of “Skyfall” is underway (JB 007 #23)….

    Nov 3, 2011 | 11:42 pm

     
  4. lei says:

    It is quite sad to admit that this is happening and actually a rampant exercise. Good for you MM in reminding people once again of the importance of integrity in all of our actions.

    Nov 3, 2011 | 11:49 pm

     
  5. James says:

    Nothing will change.

    Nov 4, 2011 | 12:30 am

     
  6. Junb says:

    Why warning only if it’s the 2nd time na?

    Nov 4, 2011 | 1:28 am

     
  7. betty q. says:

    …because Jun B…third strike and they are out!

    But I am impressed with Mr. Secretary! However, I sincerely hope that it is not because it is JB007 they messed up with and that he will continue to step up to the plate and do his job even if it is only Juan or Maria Clara who complained!

    Nov 4, 2011 | 1:43 am

     
  8. ayla says:

    Mr. Garduque’s giving the DOT a bad name (or is making it worse, depends on how you look at it.) High five and I have high hopes for Sec. Jimenez, excited for when they’ll unveil the Philippines’ new slogan.

    Nov 4, 2011 | 3:08 am

     
  9. cwid says:

    Wasn’t there a SC judge who plagiarized his decisions? And a commencement speaker who plagiarized his speech? Plagiarism is a big deal, it is stealing, a crime, yet is treated cavalierly by many. In the same way that many turn a blind eye on corruption in government. But maybe I am wrong and this no longer the case?

    Nov 4, 2011 | 3:30 am

     
  10. Mart says:

    Heheh! So news outlet did pick this up as a story. Kudos to you MM and all of the marketmanila.com readers.

    I was expecting that someone high up in the DOT would first deny any plagiarism happened. Management types typically have no pride or balls to own up to a mistake. But if it is praise you’ll always see them first in line. Tsk, tsk. Shame on you Mr. June Garduque. Why don’t you man up, grow a pair and show some integrity. Denying any wrongdoing only makes our perception of you grow worse.

    @Junb: I totally agree. Why only still a warning if this is the second offense? Maybe some of the readers here are lawyers or know a good lawyer that would pro-bono a plagiarism case to teach the DOT (and every other government office) a lesson.

    Nov 4, 2011 | 4:59 am

     
  11. joan says:

    Why are they still skirting the issue of who trinaldero is???? Why aren’t they taking actions against her owing to the assumption that she was paid with taxpayer’s money to “write” that article for their website? Apologies are not enough, they should unmask the culprit to prevent her from victimizing other clients whom she “writes” for….

    Nov 4, 2011 | 8:33 am

     
  12. ami says:

    A small win, but still a win. Amazing what can be accomplished with our own little “people power”.

    Nov 4, 2011 | 8:36 am

     
  13. Joel says:

    I would have been happy to hear the Secretary say, besides cleaning up the DOT website of plagiarism, that he admits how awfully pathetic the DOT website really is! He should revamp the whole thing. It is a national disgrace!

    Nov 4, 2011 | 1:22 pm

     
  14. Faust says:

    and they never learned.

    Nov 4, 2011 | 1:43 pm

     
  15. louinsanfran says:

    you have done sec jimenez and the dot a big favor by exposing this deficiency in the department. this is what responsible citizens do. let’s hope sec jimenez succeeds in his vision for phil tourism.

    the dot might do well to simply cite proper attribution to those articles that help immensely in attracting visitors.

    Nov 4, 2011 | 2:06 pm

     
  16. tamale8888 says:

    That Garduque character ought to be sacked for making utterly unrefined and tactless pronouncements. Unfit to resepresent the agency.*:(

    Nov 4, 2011 | 2:15 pm

     
  17. tonet says:

    kaya nga ba ang nakakarinig tayo ng comments na maraming bobo sa gobyerno dahil sa gawain ng kokonting bobo nga…mali na ang sagot, nag-justify pa! uggghhh!

    Nov 4, 2011 | 2:31 pm

     
  18. MP says:

    James, I hope you are wrong… but part of me agrees with you. My hubby says I am too cynical and suggests that I should just keep hoping that the new Sec will bring about change and integrity…

    In any case, I keep checking in to see how long it will take Atty Kaw to investigate… For a “simple” case, it is taking them forever huh. Although the Sec’s memo was promptly released, I am getting antsy waiting for the result of their investigation. I think most of us already googled trinadelros and have done a bit of sleuthing. i wonder how long it’ll take DOT answer MM’s queries..

    Nov 4, 2011 | 4:37 pm

     
  19. PanchoA says:

    MM, Sec Mon Jimenez is a fair and conscientious guy. I worked with him. He’s one good man in that Cabinet, along with Sec. Rene Almendras of Energy.

    Nov 4, 2011 | 6:10 pm

     
  20. ManilaRaf says:

    All that was needed was changing an “n” to an “m”:

    “Hindi kami magpe-plagiarize. Hindi kami maglalagay ng information na hindi galing sa amin.”

    =)

    Incidentally, some of my friends from college (Same alma mater as Marketman, Go Eagles!!! =) ) are teachers and they run across this all the time from students that they teach at the elementary and high school level. Of course they can’t always check everything, but if they run across a report or assignment that seems to be written in a manner out of character from the student, a simple Google search is very revealing. (One friend spoke of a custom piece of software available at her US-based school district that can do this for whole reports).

    Intellectual laziness and lack of fear of being sanctioned is what I think is the cause of this. Odds are whoever posted either of these pieces on the DOT website has gotten away with such behavior previously and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was done even in school.

    Nov 5, 2011 | 1:49 am

     
  21. aprilwilkie says:

    The last section you wrote also shows a problem that creates a major problem in the fact even if you wanted to “credit” an article are you giving credit to the right website? IF multiple people by accident also did the same with the wrong site would it gain better online rankings for the article?

    Also was anyone questioned about what they did for the rest of the day as obviously cutting and pasting only takes a couple of minutes.

    Nov 6, 2011 | 12:02 am

     
  22. e says:

    I don’t understand how people seem to be taking Jimenez’s word for this. Of course he will warn against plagiarism. It doesn’t mean 1) that he knew nothing or did not condone it, or 2) he’s just trying to save face for himself, if not for the agency.

    also, try googling trinadelro and a lot of freelance writer webpages crop up. granted, this may be a common username, but there still is the possibility that they are the same person.

    It’s likely that DOT is just outsourcing its content, but that’s beside the point. Remember DSWD a couple of weeks ago. it’s so easy to blame a freelancer, or even regular staff, or a computer program. But the fact of the matter is, plagiarism is plagiarism.

    Nov 6, 2011 | 1:43 am

     
  23. Marketman says:

    e, I think the point is that at least there was some positive result, if only a warning. But yes, it still boils down to the crux of the matter, and that hasn’t been resolved yet… and I hope there will be a definitive answer after the holiday. Stealing is stealing, even if done by a contractor, an outsourced firm or individual, and even if the stolen item is “returned” or taken off the web…

    Nov 6, 2011 | 7:11 am

     
  24. Bong says:

    Regarding the plagiarized Marketman article… Test page! What a sorry excuse! If it is visible online for everyone to see, then it’s not a test page. I can almost smell another “test page” excuse coming up!

    Nov 7, 2011 | 4:17 pm

     
  25. ich9 says:

    Just judging from people reposting my site’s posts, plagiarism is quite rampant among certain circles (scrapers and autoblogs). Sadly, many people aren’t even “aware” they are stealing your content. They think copying and pasting on the Internet is the way online content is generated.

    If anyone reading this is wondering if their content has been stolen, you can easily find out by entering your url at copyscape.com They offer a free plagiarism check. There are other tools out there but they just use Google strings and aren’t as good. Copyscape zeroes in on the portions that were stolen and the sites who ripped you.

    Why is this a problem? Besides the annoyance of someone taking credit for your work, duplicate content also penalizes you on Google and other search engines.

    Nov 8, 2011 | 12:22 pm

     
  26. anna says:

    MM, please check pdi today under biz buzz, an article by abigail ho entitled “stolen words?” re above subject matter. =)

    Nov 14, 2011 | 9:16 am

     
  27. Marketman says:

    anna, thanks, saw that article too… :)

    Nov 14, 2011 | 9:38 pm

     
  28. mr. jap says:

    The Poland incident, this plagiarism matter is just some of the bobos the DOT had made & leT us CHALLENGE the new Sec. Ramon Jimenez to TEST ALL ( meaning ALL ) his people in the Dept. of Tourism if they can sell their respective places as the DOT from Manila Central office to all its Regional Offices as the bureaucratic red tape is widespread – which is CONTRARY to the Mission Vision of the Department , to sell the Philippines LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL.

    KUDOS to Mr. MARKETMAN for opening up a can of worms ( attitudes of DOT personnel is UGLY ).

    Nov 15, 2011 | 6:20 am

     
 

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