MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) headed by Sec. Ramon Jimenez, Jr. announced today their campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” has now bore fruit after the agency recorded a huge spike of tourist coming in to the country; majority of which are male tourist from Panama.
In a press conference held at their office in Kalaw, Jimenez boasted an 86% increase of inbound tourist for the past 4 days, even amid growing tensions between Philippines and China regarding the disputed Panatag Shoal.
“They are mostly male, ages 30 and above, and to our surprise, their itinerary doesn’t contain any famous tourist attractions as their destinations,” revealed Jimenez. “They instead have a city tour planned that would take them to Makati, Tomas Morato and Quezon Ave. in Quezon City as well as an out-of-town trip to Angeles City, Pampanga.”
“But Sir, aren’t these mostly red-light-districts?” asked a reporter beside this author.
“These places are known to be called THAT, but let us not stereotype here,” defended Jimenez. “May I remind you that these places also has restaurants and other establishments that are not hanky-panky in nature.”
When asked if the recent case regarding a teen allegedly raped by a Panamanian diplomat is a factor for the spike, Jimenez just scoffs at the statement, replying only with a short, “very unlikely,” while shaking his head.
Suspected Panamanian rapist Erick Bairnals Shcks is still in the country, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.The 35-year old Shcks is accused of raping 19-year old “Pamela”..The alleged victim claimed that the rape occurred around 11 p.m. in Shcks’ place last April 23. She claimed the Panamanian national made her sniff marijuana, and then raped he
In a chance interview this morning, De Lima said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has reported that Shcks has not left the country following his release from police detention after securing a certification from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that he is covered by diplomatic immunity. (from ABS-CBN News)
In return, the secretary boasted the aggressive advertising of the Philippines as well as improved infrastructures around the country that attracted the Panamanians in the first place. “Give credit where credit is due,” he told the reporters, “You can’t pin it on the rape case, because we never saw huge numbers of American tourist during the time of the Subic rape case. There’s no pattern there.”
The secretary also belittled the Panamanian’s choice to ignore majority of the tourist spots. “We can’t help it if they want to go to a certain place and not the other. What’s important is that they are here generating income for businesses whether it’s restaurants, souvenirs, entertainment, and others.”
Women’s party list Gabriela suggested that the government cover up these red-light-district establishments so as not to attract certain kind of tourists. “Just cover them up similar to what they did to the informal settlers during the annual meeting of Asian Development Bank Board of Governors,” said one member of Gabriela.
Delegates attending an international conference in the Philippines capital may not see what they came to discuss: abject poverty.
A makeshift, temporary wall has been erected across a bridge on a road from the airport to downtown Manila that hides a sprawling slum along a garbage-strewn creek.
Presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang defended the wall’s installation, saying Thursday “any country will do a little fixing up before a guest comes.”
“If the government can erect these walls to hide informal settlers, I think erecting the same walls to hide these lewd establishment would gain more support and praise,” said another member.
We also asked the secretary if reports that some, if not all of the Panamanians entering the country has secured certifications from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that they be covered by diplomatic immunity, are true.
This means that the Panamanians, cannot be arrested and tried in court if ever they were to commit petty crimes like littering or smoking in Luneta, as well as more serious offense like murder or rape.
“Don’t worry, the Panamanian government has promised us that they will waive said immunity, if, and that’s a big if, they did commit a crime,” assured Jimenez.
“What if, and this is a big if, the Panamanian government would not honor their end of the promise?” asks this author.
“Don’t worry, there is always this thing called ‘persona non grata‘ that we could always use in these tight spots,” assured Jimenez. “They wouldn’t be able to come back to our
women country after they have committed such crime.”
We interviewed a Panamanian tourist, who looked really excited upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). He said, “I applaud your country’s standards regarding truth in advertising because it IS more fun in thePhilippines!”