Amid issues surrounding the Philippine News Agency with its blunders on its website, the netizens’ attention also turned to the Department of Tourism for using a photo without giving credit to the videographer.
In a Facebook post on August 10, surfer Bidge Villaroya took to Facebook to react to DOT’s Facebook post promoting surfing in Catanduanes.
Based on the screenshot of DOT’s post that Villaroya captured, the promo said, “Searching for the right wave? The tides and winds have conspired to make the island province Catanduanes an emerging surfing destination thay [sic] will have you stoked!”
Along with the promotional post was a pixellated photo of a surfer in yellow shirt riding the waves.
Of this, Villaroya pointed out how the photo was a low-resolution screen capture of a scene in a video taken by videographer Gabs Batallones while surfer John Mark Tokong was surfing during the a 2015 surfing competition.
“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. Its very low res, but you can still identify John Mark Tokong going for a bottom turn to off the lip maneuver,” Villaroya wrote.
“Credit should also be given to the event in which this screen cap happened, Puraran Surfing Cup 2015,” he said.
Noting the agency’s millions of budget, Villaroya further said, “Considering the DOT has a multi million budget, they should have at least given credit to the work and effort behind the image, if they didnt want to spend money buying a photo/image.”
In the comments section, Villaroya pointed out the part of the Batallones’ video where the screencap used by DOT was obtained.
Villaroya also expressed his disdain for anyone using surfing as a “product to be labeled-packaged-sold” to the tourists.
“I have always abhored how some government agencies view surfing and the surf communities as a product to be labeled-packaged-sold to the tourist masses. Theres only one surfer i know who has deep roots with DOT. Pareng paolo manuel soler, patulong naman, medyo maliit na nga kinikita ng mga water photogs/videogs natin,pipiratahin pa ng DOT,” Villaroya said.
On August 11, Villaroya posted an update in the comments section after tracing how DOT got ahold of the low-resolution screencap.
“UPDATE: so Itravel, a subsidiary of DOT, copies the Bicol Surf Jam puraran youtube video, and then DOT FBpage screencaps the Itravel video, copy-paste of the copy-paste!” he wrote.
He also firmly said that DOT did not ask for the videographer’s permission, but they apologized to Batallones.
A Spot.ph report said that even iTravel Pinas, DOT’s newly launched travel program airing on PTV-4, used Batallones’ video without his permission.
Spot.ph reached to Rhoel Velayo Fernandez, head of the Office of Public Affairs, Communications, and Special Projects of DOT. He explained that it was him who decided to use the screengrab from the iTravel Pinas video without knowing that it was not the program’s original video.
“What I did not know was the said video was not taken by the iTravel team. I made apologies to Gabs and Bidge soon as I learned of the allegations. If we had known that said footage was shot by another party we would have asked permission ourselves,” Fernandez said.
He added that he has asked iTravel Pinas team to reach out to Batallones and the team sent this message to Fernandez:
“’Yong action-packed surfing in Puraran Beach na nilabas natin for Catanduanes episode are definitely not from the team. When iTP team went there to shoot for a surfing segment, the water was calm. Bago kami mag-shoot ng surfing 101, I asked Chris and Aireen Tanael, sila ‘yong interview ko re:surfing. Also, they are the famous surfers in Puraran. I asked them kung may maibibigay ba silang surfing footage/videos to support the claim na in Puraran, a beach surfer will experience a ‘Majestic Surfing because of its breathtaking long-barrel-type waves.’ Puwede ko raw gamitin ‘yong videos from YouTube na sa kanila naman daw. To make sure about the video, sinearch ko ‘yong vids at kinonfirm sa kanila ‘yong okay gamitin. ‘Yong video was a compilation of their surfing event,” the iTP team explained.
Spot.ph noted that the DOT post about the controversial surfing photo and the video featuring a teaser for iTravel Pinas’ Catanduanes segment have been taken down.
On August 13, Spot.ph provided an update to the article regarding Batallones’ side, showing that he does not put the entire blame on DOT.
“If you ask me, it was not the whole DOT’s mistake,” he wrote.
“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,” Batallones said.
“All I got from him was a sorry. This action is so 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,” Batallones added.
Sources: ( spot.ph )