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Who’s replacing Lim at DOT?

By Abraham V. Llera

In the wake of DOT Secretary Alberto Lim’s resignation, tongues are wagging
speculating as to who’d replace him.

Alberto Lim, who was with the Makati Business Club before his appointment, had the misfortune of being the boss when DOT goofed big time with its “Pilipinas, Kay Ganda” fiasco, fueling speculations that Lim must be one of three cabinet secretaries whom Pres. Aquino had publicly admitted are “bearers of bad news.”

If readers would remember, the government had spent a lot of money on that DOT attempt to carve a catchy tagline for the Philippines to match Brazil’s “Sensational,” for instance, or Malaysia’s “1.”

The expensive snafu fell on its face after the entire nation doubled up in laughter after it was revealed that an almost identical “Filipinas, Kay Ganda” Web site would direct people to a Pinay dating site, precisely the opposite of what the hapless campaign was trying to do. It did not help that Poland has something almost exactly like it.

The grapevine mill started crunching out names of possible replacements even before the ink on Lim’s resignation letter was dry.

One of the first mentioned is that of the First Sister, Kris Aquino, although many wondered aloud about how could that possibly happen especially now.

Another name floated is that of former APO member Jim Paredes who, it is said, seems to have many good ideas on how the tourism thrust in the country should go.

Still another is former DOT secretary Ace Durano, who, come to think of it, did very well in his job. His re-appointment, however, is very unlikely, considering this administration’s sheer revulsion to anything related to GMA.

Certainly, Dick Gordon would make a good DOT secretary. After all, wasn’t it not him who thought up that immensely successful “Wow, Philippines” tourism campaign?

Finally, the name of one relatively unknown ad industry professional- Mon Jimenez- was floated. . Jimenez started an ad company that’s now called Publicis JimenezBasic, and he’s the marketing and media consultant for Woo Consultancy. Jimenez must have come into P-Noy’s radar through his work as consultant for the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation.

My guess is that it will be Mon Jimenez.

Whoever gets appointed has a lot of catching up to do. We are one country that many other countries would like to invade, not only for our oil potential, but also for the simple fact that, here in the Philippines, we have probably half of what the world calls “beautiful,” especially our awesome beaches and other natural marvels and tourist magnets.

Besides, while other countries have their catchy taglines which keep them top of the mind among tourists, the Philippines (*gasp) is still struggling to develop one.

Here’s a list of the more popular branding taglines used by other countries: Brazil Sensational!, Incredible India, Cool, Japan, Uniquely Singapore, Amazing Thailand, 1 Malaysia, Viva Cuba, Egypt: Where It All Begins; El Salvador Impressive!; Visit Finland Breathe; Florida Keys Come as You Are.