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Putting on the spin; GMA irked with media

August 29, 2006

IT never fails to amaze me that even with a disaster as tragic as the Guimaras oil spill, the government’s media handlers still try to put a spin on the issue making it sound not as bad as it really does.

In my mailbox tonight, I received the regular press releases from the government by way of the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. One particular piece caught my attention and made me gag.

Of course it’s the government’s job to spin problems into positive news, but not at the expense of the country becoming a laughing stock in the end when foreign tourists find out the real deal in Guimaras.

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Tourism thrives amid devastation in Guimaras

INAMPULUGAN ISLAND, Guimaras Province—Despite the massive damage wrought by the oil spill on the coastal areas of Guimaras, the island’s tourism industry continues to thrive.

This was the report today of Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before the executive meeting here of Task Force Guimaras.

The President flew here this afternoon to convene the task force she organized to oversee efforts to contain the oil spill and undertake the rehabilitation of the calamity-hit areas.

“So you see, there are portions of Guimaras not affected by the oil spill,” the President told members of the media covering her second visit here in two days.

Only the towns of Nueva Valencia, Sibunag, San Lorenzo, and Buenavista in the southwestern part of Guimaras were affected.

Out of the 24 tourist resorts in Guimaras, only seven were affected by the oil slick.

The cluster of resorts at the eastern side of the island were not affected by the soil spillage.

Aside from its world known sweet mangoes, Guimaras boasts of pristine beaches and rich marine life.

The island is being promoted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as a pilgrimage and eco-tourism destination.

SEE what I mean? What is funnier is the news that comes after this, courtesy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
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Arroyo’s temper flares over Guimaras media coverage

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Reporter

GUIMARAS – An irked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo scolded her media handlers for bringing members of the press at an oil slick-stricken beach resort here where she’s staying.

Upon arriving at the Costa Aguada Island Resort and making a short tour, Arroyo appeared surprised to see a horde of reporters waiting to cover her visit.

The President, known for her quick temper, was overheard asking her handlers why the media were brought to the resort when press coverage should be geared toward dispelling the negative publicity adversely affecting the province’s tourism industry.

(Originally published on INQ7.net, Aug. 28, 2006. Click here for the full story.)

OH Gloria! Unlike you, who took 14 days before even visiting the site of this terrible tragedy, the media has been at Ground Zero from Day One. So even if you shoo them away from covering you, which is their job by the way, they know the truth and will continue to write it. They will certainly see through your PR machinations.

Hmmm…I hear Germany is nice this time of the year.

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