Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has ordered the removal of a controversial billboard promoting a tourism attraction in Bais City, which drew flak from netizens who found it “offensive”.
Provincial Tourism Officer Myla Mae Bromo Abellana on Tuesday said that Degamo will no longer issue a statement regarding the billboard, as earlier announced but ordered its removal from its location in Metro Manila.
Abellana said following Degamo’s order, the billboard, measuring 30 feet by 50 feet, was removed from its location at URC Flour Plant along C-5 Bagong Ilog, Pasig City.
The billboard’s photo featured a male foreigner and an Asian woman lying on the floor of the prow of a boat out at sea, surrounded by dolphins.
The intention of the billboard was to promote the famous whale- and dolphin-watching activities in Bais City in Negros Oriental, but many people, in their Facebook comments, said the photo was “sexually suggestive, inappropriate, and putting out the wrong message”.
Abellana explained that the billboard was part of the province’s good intentions to promote tourism and in fact, they even borrowed that photo from the married couple in the picture who own a kite-surf school in Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental.
The billboard, which was put up last August 7, is one of three that the Provincial Tourism Office had approved following deliberations with its marketing and promotions team, to be used as marketing tools, she said.
All three billboards cost PHP1.5 million for two months of outdoor advertising which the provincial government paid for, she added.
Abellana said they would be replacing the photo for the billboard that was taken down. (Mary Judaline Partlow PNA via NDB)