A picture recently emerged on Twitterverse that showed an altered version of the popular tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines” inside a New York City subway train.
User Nerissa Balce said the vandalism saying “It’s more deadly in the Philppines” was placed over an original tourism advertisement. The one responsible for the text, however, is not yet known or identified.
Anonymous folks vandalize a Philippine state-sponsored tourist ad & tell the truth about extrajudicial killings. Seen on a subway train in New York city this week. #NoToExtrajudicialKillings #ItsMoreDeadlyInThePhilippines pic.twitter.com/f5kqI80Ip3
— Nerissa Balce (@digitalbalce) May 4, 2018
Human Rights Watch Deputy Director Phelim Kine shared the picture and added a link to an article that tackled Duterte’s bloody anti-narcotics campaign.
— Phelim Kine 林海 (@PhelimKine) May 7, 2018
He wrote that in the annual human rights report of the US State Department, “a sharp rise” in killings was observed in the Philippines since Duterte took office in 2016.
Some Twitter users also attributed the text on the campaign poster to extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
Tama na ang pag papanggap! There is a PROBLEM here, the “Government!” We need a solution! You can’t stop people in the States to be blunt . . . Sila nga alam nila na may EJK, bakit tayo dito, in denial?
— Miyam (@realmiyam) May 5, 2018
Attempt to change slogan
Last year, the DOT launched a new campaign video that featured the phrase “Experience Philippines” in an attempt to reflect Duterte’s theme for his presidency — “change is coming.”
The video highlighted the famous spots in the Philippines like the Banaue Rice Terraces, Paoay Sand Dunes and Calle Crisologo in Vigan.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said: “We have a new Philippines. So, the slogan will focus more on ‘change.'”
A few days after the video launched, the DOT announced it would resume using its award-winning “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan.
Tourism Undersecretary for Advocacy and Public Affairs Katherine De Castro explained:
“Wala pong katotohanan na papalitan po namin ang ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines.’ It’s just that meron kaming naisip together with our ad agency na kumbaga bagayin ‘yung ipapalabas naming bagong commercial.”
Teo added, “We are shifting our focus in our promotional campaigns towards the unique experiences that each destinations could offer, Filipino hospitality, and security.”
As of now, the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” remains the current slogan.
Concern over state-sanctioned killings
Several international organizations and bodies have condemned the killings in the president’s drug war. The European Parliament, for one, has expressed its “deep concern” for the deaths of around supposed 12,000 people under Duterte’s term.
Human Rights Watch’s 2018 World Report shows police operations conducted in the country have resulted in the death of 3,906 suspected drug users and dealers from July 1, 2016, to September 26, 2017.
The number of victims could’ve been higher since there are unidentified gunmen who have participated in the killings as well, the international rights group reported.
Pulitzer winners Manuel Mogato and Clare Baldwin of Reuters reported that policemen admitted planting evidence, receiving money, killing people and then blaming it on vigilante groups.
They also tackled the existence and objectives of the so-called Davao Death Squad through the help of a retired intelligence officer. It is the suspected group behind the summary executions of people involved in criminal activities and drug dealings.