‘The Philippines says Thank You’ video: missing the bigger point #PHthankyou

So apparently, three months after Tropical Storm Haiyan (local name Yolanda) hits the Philippines, the Department of Tourism (DOT) comes out with a short video called “The Philippines says Thank You”, with the accompanying hashtag #PHthankyou.

Ok. So what then?

Frankly, the video just fails to move me. I’m probably only a handful of Filipinos who’s not going to be amazed by such a WTF move from the DOT.

As a first impression, it was rather underwhelming to see that video because, as usual, a big deal is being made out of something that is considered a common courtesy in civilized societies. You know, the type of society that the Philippines has long been aspiring to but has consistently fallen short of?

haiyanphilippineflag

That it even took three (3) months for the Philippines – one that is represented by a government they elected, mind you – to muster what can be considered a collective thank you message should be rather appalling in itself. Plus consider the source – the Department of Tourism. So does this mean that the Philippines is pitching itself as a tourism destination because the people know how to say thank you for being helped? And that makes them and the Philippines as a tourism destination special?

And just like the previous promotion “It’s more fun in the Philippines”, this one is one big walking ambiguity. The tag line “You’re making all the difference” is of no help either.

One cannot just stop at taking this “thank you message” at face value because of the context of the typhoon relief efforts.

No matter how loud or how many times the Philippines says “thank you for the donations”, it misses the bigger point, and the more fundamental question that people observing the Philippines have been wanting an answer to:

What has happened to all the donations?

At a time when the Philippine government is neck-deep in controversy regarding the Haiyan donations, they come out with a tourism advertisement. The foreign aid that has either vanished or not arrived to the victims, the permanently crappy temporary shelters, the mound of clothes discovered in Cebu believed to be for the victims, etc. No matter how one looks at it, this “show of gratitude” is seeming more and more like one big distraction from all that, while at the same time providing another opportunity for shameless self-aggrandizement and promotion on part of the Philippines.

In a way, they tried to be clever – and nearly succeeded, but the DOT and the Philippine government might have done better to keep their mouths shut.

The underlying point that many Filipinos will most likely miss is that if they want to be really sincere about showing gratitude, then they should be able to show results that the foreign aid that has been received has been utilized very well. Unfortunately, the Philippine government has been nothing but one inefficient, wasteful, corrupt, and highly politicized bureaucratic mess. And as government is merely a reflection of the people who voted its constituents in, Filipino society is nothing but one inefficient, wasteful, corrupt, and highly politicized mess. It’s a hopeless basketcase.

That is no way to show gratitude for being helped no matter how one looks at it.

Yep, “You’re making all the difference” all right – because Filipinos have shown just how helpless and pathetically dependent they are on foreign aid. They are unable to translate that foreign aid into anything sort of a local initiative that will eventually wean them away from it.

Under normal circumstances, a Filipino thanking someone for help is rather rare. What is the typical Filipino response to being helped?

Go ask for more help. If you stop giving help, they will come up with yet another pathetic whiny victim or sob story. Worse, if you criticize, they will give you the middle finger.

As one GRP commenter has put it, eventually the law of diminishing returns (or generosity, in this case) will settle in. That the Philippines has not shown any less inclination to depend on foreign aid is, quite frankly, becoming tired and embarrassing.

It’s more fun in the Philippines – to be an ungrateful mendicant.

[Photo courtesy: collegemagazine]

print

About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Post Author: FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Leave a Reply

47 Comments on "‘The Philippines says Thank You’ video: missing the bigger point #PHthankyou"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
cynicjam
Member
To the Philippine government: Thank you for showing to the world that you are opportunists and selfish idiots whose only concern is to get richer by hoarding relief goods for money, leaving the typhoon victims in a crappier state. Thank you for proving once again, that PNoy is only good in blaming other people instead of galvanizing the the whole nation. Thank you as well for proving that Filipinos are not water-proof, with more than 5,000 dead in Yolanda’s wake. Last but not the least: Thank you for proving to the whole world that your words are as empty as… Read more »
Bjorn
Guest

They are not idiots. They are thieves that are arrogant enough to steal in front of the entire international community, and watch (in true filipino fashion), they’ll do it again whenever the opportunity arises.

Bjorn
Guest
That it was a gov’t. agency may be a hint, or a wink, at where all the supplies went. A good way to say thank you is to show what was done with the supplies, as the author contends. Taking 3 months is not that bad considering the wreck the country was/is in.The idea that Filipino’s know how to say thank you for being helped and then people should visit here is just a weird thought/suggestion to mention. BUT, what was done with all that aid? The money? The food? The clothing? The Medicine? Forget saying thank you, how about… Read more »
Jmac
Guest

If I was the donor, I’d say “Yeah yeah whatever, but what have you actually done with what I gave you? Because what I’m hearing isn’t very good: Slow response times, slow recovery and relief efforts, abysmal logistics, overpriced and substandard bunkhouses, lack of livelihood opportunities, widespread looting and lack of security, politics and overall lack of planning, among other things.”

Josh
Guest
Sounds like they’re actually saying, “Thanks for the load of money we can spend on ourselves and our spoiled children!” From my observations from living here for the time I have, it’s rather everyone’s fault. Let’s take a look at a simple example of a homeless guy on the street. How many people will actually give him money? No one actually cares about him and there’s too many homeless guys to give money to. But what drives him to stay at that corner is the knowledge that he knows he can survive with whatever comes in from those who do… Read more »
danny carino
Guest

shameless and pathetic. i know that advertising people (im actually an ad and pr man myself)will go many lengths just to make a fast buck but this latest stunt by jimenez really tops it all, a cheap production with a monumental budget, i wonder where andre fits in this equation

Ding Dong It's Dante's Inferno!
Guest
Ding Dong It's Dante's Inferno!
Just got back from visiting a friend in Dapitan. SHOCK HORROR! – At the Junction of the SaveMore/Shooting Gallery Road and Aurora Boulevard, I was the first in the queue to turn left, onto Aurora. As the Traffic Lights changed, a Silver Toyota Frontera (Plate Number JCR 20) turned right from Aurora into what is a ‘One Way Street!’ Not content with being ignored, he continued to advance, wanting me (facing in the correct direction) to move, with a queue of cars behind me! – When are these Quasi Politicians going to learn that they do not own the road!… Read more »
Jigs
Guest

When you give, you don’t have to expect anything in return. And if the receiver says thank you, that’s a bonus already.

Be happy that you able to help someone. The genuine joy lies to the giver and not to the receiver. You don’t need to criticize the receiver. That’s the civilized way and that’s humanity.

Krauss
Guest
Wow…I never thought the DOT would go so low as to use 6000+ dead people into their bogus campaigns. “Thanks for your help! Now come to the Philippines where its more fun!” Damn! Makes me wanna wash my hands after typing it. I mean, just look at the posters they’ve been spreading. Instead of showing pictures of the results of all that given aid, they show random pictures beaches and people posing cute for the camera. Wouldn’t a “before & after” photo with a the word “Thank You” superimposed on it look more ‘thankful’ than a picture showing a bunch… Read more »
Krauss
Guest

A video were the improvements made are shown in detail and the people in it are the victims themselves. Now that’s a sincere video right there! It was released months after the disaster happened too.

Krauss
Guest

just* months, I mean.

Sea Bee
Guest

The very fact that someone thought to create a “Thank you” campaign represents progress of sorts. I have given funds to help less fortunate people here and I have never received a “thank you” in return. One time I paid for an ambulance ride that saved a child’s life. Not a word. Another time, the recipient fell on his knees and cried “Thank God!” Why aren’t Filipinos comfortable with saying thank you? Perhaps, thanking someone means having to admit to their own inadequacy and that means losing face. What do you think?

Elizabeth S. Bennett
Guest
The Philippines thanked the world for their support and generosity, so what’s the beef? Damn if you do and damn if you don’t. Okay, Japan had an outstanding video of Arigato, it’s longer and very meaningful. The Phil. did the best it can in a few seconds or minute, did it ever occur to you that maybe there’s a time limit for the Phil. thank you video? Do you want a two hour full movie? Why don’t you produce a full length documentary then? A thank you is a thank you in every way, the heart expresses it’s gratitude in… Read more »
cynicjam
Member

Did it ever occur to you that foreign donations that should have been received by the typhoon victims were hoarded by the local government itself? I think the “Thank yous” should come from the victims. It would have been better if the local government presented their accomplishments in that video as well.

Foreign aid is always welcome but hoarding that aid by the local government is unforgivable.

Krauss
Guest
Look…it doesn’t matter if its 30 seconds or 30 minutes (or 2 hours, like what you’re suggesting), just as long as the video shows 100% sincerity. Let me take it at another angle. Isn’t it hypocritical that others would be enraged if a politician has his/her name plastered on a bag of relief goods, yet those very same people would commend the DOT for a video that has its tourism agenda written all over it? Epal politician: “You’re welcome! Now vote for me! DOT with their Thank You video: “Thank You All! Now choose Philippines!” See the similarities? A thank… Read more »
Caesar Saloma
Guest
This post is an example of just how Get Real Philippines should get real. Because you’re nitpicking now. I’ve had my season of protests against the establishment and I’ve done my fair share. But I am not a person who will protest just for the sake of protesting. This post is an example of the Filipino stuck in a crab mentality. What’s wrong with saying thank you? It is commendable. And yet, because this site fancies itself as a contrarian, hipster Fox News kind of elitist holier-than-thou snarkfest, even this gesture is viewed under the lens of people desperate to… Read more »
cynicjam
Member

“Ian the Brown Juan: Your post doesn’t even make sense. You blame the government for the worst typhoon in modern history?” – It’s rather obvious you didn’t read my post thoroughly. Tell me then, why did the government hoard donations from foreign and local aid? Isn’t that already a violation of common sense that’s enough for me to do a sarcastic “Thank you” message to the government for their poor handling of the disaster?

Grow a brain too, hypocrite.

Caesar Saloma
Guest

To which I say you need to exercise your logical faculties more. Do you have specific, empirical proof that the GOVERNMENT as a whole is screwing up relief efforts?

Oh you don’t? I see. You’re just saying it because it’s fashionable to say it. You want to feel hip. You want to curry approval with the people who read this site.

Yes there will be corrupt elements there. But I’ve also seen sincere GOVERNMENT efforts too. See if your clouded judgment can make sense of that.

cynicjam
Member
You need spoonfeeding? Well, I’ll humor you for now: http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/dswd-hoards-foreign-aid-inside-aquino-stadium For the record, I don’t need to “curry” approval with other people for my post. And I don’t understand why you have to namedrop people that are against you – a clear proof of lowball standards. To paraphrase my previous statement from another poster: I think the “Thank yous” should come from the victims and it would have been better if the local government presented their accomplishments in the video as well to show that they really have done something to the victims. Problem is it’s a video that’s disguised… Read more »
benign0
Admin
It’s simple, really. As commentor Libertas and a few others pointed out: The bottomline is results. A drug addict, for example, may be eternally grateful (and express it gratitiously to boot) to a passerby who drops a few pesos into his open hand. But the real question in that thought experiment is what those pesos will be used for. Will that same passerby walk by, say, a week later and find the same bozo panhandling on the same street corner? Quite likely. So same with the Philippines. The recurring question when it comes to the Philippines has always been: Where… Read more »
joeld
Guest

@ceasar

Why do you shoot commentator one by one, who are merely stating / elaborating the very simple fact that the video made by DOT was pointless. That ain’t a thank you to me, if at all it appears to be some sort of promotional video, however badly done as it is.

Krauss
Guest
Again with that ‘crab mentality’ crap. It’s a myth, dude. You put a bunch of crabs in a bucket and all they’ll do is crawl out, not pull each other down. And in what part did I say the Philippines can’t do a good video compared to that of Japan? You assume too much, and that’s the problem with you. See, I DO believe that our country can make a good “Thank You” video. I do believe that our country can come up with many more videos showing our gratitude to the world THAT IS BETTER THAN THE DOT’s VIDEO.… Read more »
libertas
Guest
International contributors would have been more interested in where the donations have gone, the difference those contributions have made, and the plans for the future. Maybe any campaign should have been backed up by a website to visit, giving specifics on donations, projects, expenditure etc (compared to a global advertising campaign, it would have cost petty cash) I just remembered that the philippines did launch a website! FAITH – foreign aid transparency hub. I just checked Launched – 14 nov 2013 Last update – 20 nov 2013 Says it all. Have FAITH in the philippines – that would have been… Read more »
OnesimusUnbound
Guest

Out of curiousity, I went to Gov’s FAiTH site (http://www.gov.ph/faith/). Then, I tried accessing the full report (http://www.gov.ph/faith/full-report/) and it’s just a list countries and organizations who donated, the amount donated. It looks like a summary report to me.

In addition, it has a “nice” infographic on the how the information, money, and goods will course through its different agencies. (Rappler?)

Gee, I wonder if the Government will hire a third party auditor to verify how “FAiTH”ful it is in handling the donations and publish a detailed report.

OnesimusUnbound
Guest

Oh, my mistake :-(. The full report has a detailed list of what was donated, viewable on CSV or as text file.

I had issues accessing the report as it hungs, hence I have to use wayback back machine to check the list. Still my mistake.

http://web.archive.org/web/20131203062858/http://www.gov.ph/faith/full-report/

libertas
Guest

I checked the link in case i missed something.

It is just an out of date list of pledges – as opposed to money/goods recieved and nothing on expenditure.

It looks like a site put together in a few hours so that it could be announced ( in november when appealing for aid) that all donations would be transparent, and then forgotten about. A bit of window dressing.

So no transparency or reporting on the aid.
I bet the daily mail who wrote about the aid goods being resold would soon uncover another scam here

Jaime Veridune
Guest
The #PHThankyou video did show some relief effort of building wooden houses and a glimmer of hope by showing children playing basketball. But after these scenes, it was other people, noticeably not from the devastated areas thanking. This is a tourism ad after all. It has to look good. Although, I think, foreign countries would appreciate our “Thank you” if they see more of the relief efforts rather than other fellow Filipinos thanking for those affected by Haian/Yolanda. Or maybe there’s no need for the words of gratitude, rather their efforts materialized by looking at rebuilt communities and the grateful… Read more »
libertas
Guest

The lack of filipino gratitude, always wanting more, and attempt to turn any disaster into an opportunity for a scam/self interest is highlighted by the illegal, repeat illegal, filipinos in the US saying today that they should be granted permanent status (TPS), because “Filipinos say Yolanda victims won’t feel the recovery until Filipinos in the US especially those working without legal status are granted TPS”
I miss the logic here.
So international aid was of no value. The filipinos need money from trafficked people and illegal housemaids/dishwashers to save the day!
pnoy aquino and the government are actually supporting this notion! incredible

libertas
Guest
Pnoy aquino who clearly has no honesty, integrity, or respect for the rule of law is now supporting illegally trafficked people to the US, wanting the US to ignore the law in their own country, spinning a sob story as justification, and just thinking of ofw remittances in order to avoid creating jobs at home, which he clearly cannot do. Always needs someone else to solve the problems. He is as pathetic as his traitor grandfather, commie father, and idiotic mother all rolled into one, plus a few issues of his own! ( not to mention the criminal uncle, and… Read more »
cynicjam
Member

PNoy’s sunken into a new low. You know your economy is f’ked up when your main sustenance for economic growth is OFW remittances.

cynicjam
Member

I just noticed those people against this article are just contented with the “Thank you” message without focusing on the disturbing notion of donations being hoarded by the government agencies that was pinpointed in this article. Then these same people would call us “ungrateful/killjoy” just because we’ve discovered a more disturbing revelation from all of this crap.

I can see why being “open-minded” in this country is some sort of a taboo despite the democracy. What use is democracy if people would resort to doing the same shit over and over?

libertas
Guest

Never use philippines and democracy in the same sentence! It is like using pnoy aquino and integrity together – an affront to deceny, and to Cleisthenes.

The philippines

An oligarch run economy
Dynasty based politics
A subservient mainstream press/media
Politically owned survey companies used purely for propaganda
Patronage and personalities are everything
Bribery the basis of law making
Kickbacks the key to government contracts
Corruption endemic and systemic
Impunity and no rule of law
Fiefdoms with ‘little dictators’
No accountability, transparency, or freedom of information
Vote-buying and vote-rigging
Political killings – journalists/candidates
Low quality/standard of politicians/bureaucrats
Self interest driven by easy money
No ideologically based parties
No opposition

cynicjam
Member

Oh right, we do have a totalitarian state that’s disguised as “democracy.”

The fact that many people still believe that their lives are better with PNoy’s term proves my point that totalitarianism dominates this country.

Hyden Toro
Guest

Foreign aids are like “shabu” or other habit forming drugs. The more they give you; the more you will crave for it.
With such kinds of foreign aids, since from the time of Pres. Osmena to the present. The Philippines, should have been rich. The foreign aids went to the pockets of a few Oligarchs. Who financed with it, to establish their family political dynasties. Maybe, foreign aid also maintained the Aquino ownership of Hacienda Luisita…

libertas
Guest

“New car sales up 27% in january”

thank you world for my new SUV!

joeld
Guest

@ Libertas

I hope more people will see it like you do. I bet not only car sales, maybe posh condos and houses and lots. Maybe increase in deposits to offshore accounts?

MidwayHaven
Guest

I would have had less of a problem with that ad if it were made by a private organization.

Jmac
Guest
Some commentators have missed the point of the article entirely. Have you people even read the article? I’ve seen thank you messages being passed around social media right after the typhoon struck that are much more meaningful than the vid DOT made. That probably stems from the fact that those thank you messages were made by private individuals. The fact that the thank you vid was government-made tends to raise eyebrows in light of the looming knowledge of government incompetence in their handling of disaster and relief management, and misuse and wastage of international aid. That it begs the question… Read more »
eislet
Guest

a very dependent country but then so full of pride!

wpDiscuz