The Department of Tourism Should Really Invest in Photographers
Another case of almost-plagiarism?
(SPOT.ph) When it comes to photography, taking photos of surfers ripping some waves is probably one of the biggest challenges. First, you should be an actual surfer just so you know you can anticipate how your subject—both the wave and the surfer—will move. Or if not, you need to be well-versed in taking action shots. Second, you need the right gear, especially if you're serious about taking photos that are worthy of sports magazines. Third, you need to be able to go all over the Philippines because our beautiful archipelago has a bounty of waves of all shapes and sizes. So when the Department of Tourism allegedly used a surf photo without permission or credit, it was kind of a big deal. It doesn't help that the agency has a not-so-great track record when it comes to these things.
Bicol Surf Jam Puraran Leg 2015 Highlights by Gabs Batallones
On his post, Villaroya reveals: "Very happy that DOT national is promoting the happy island! But why use a low res screen cap and not credit Gabs Batallones, the videographer who was shooting for Bicol Surf Jam. It’s very low res, but you can still identify John Mark Tokong going for a bottom turn to off the lip maneuver." He also points out the post should have at least mentioned the event featured in the photograph: Puraran Surfing Cup 2015.
As it turns out, the photo that DOT used was taken from a video released by
To shed some light on the situation, SPOT.ph got in touch with Rhoel Velayo Fernandez, Office of Public Affairs, Communications, and Special Projects of DOT. He explains that it was his decision to use the image that was based on a
He got in touch with the
"'Yong action-packed surfing in Puraran Beach
SPOT.ph has reached out to Aireen Tanael but has yet to receive a response. On the other hand, Batallones confirmed that there was no permission secured by either the Department of Tourism or
"I have nothing but respect for the people who put up with a lot to get these wonderful images," Fernandez punctuates his explanation.
As of writing, DOT’s post has since been taken down, but you can still find
UPDATE (August 13, 2017): "If you ask me, it was not the whole DOT's mistake," Batallones further explains to SPOT.ph. "I don't think the whole agency should catch fire for one man's mistake. Being such a large agency, it's very difficult to keep track of everyone's actions. The one who contacted me from iTravel is a certain Mark Dela Rosa. According to him, he is the producer and the one at fault. He admitted this to me. I asked for proper compensation and an explanation. My material was already used online and in multiple platforms. There is no way to take this back. All i got from him was a sorry. This action is disrespectful to the [surf and photo/video] industries. It takes a lot of time, money and effort to produce this material. Honestly, this is not about the money anymore. It's about ethics and respecting one's work."