‘Politicizing’ a sports event: The party-list that paid to be seen at Pacquiao-Broner bout

January 23, 2019 - 6:06 PM
Boxing: Pacquiao vs Broner
Jan 19, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Manny Pacquiao (black trunks) and Adrien Broner (purple/silver trunks) box during a WBA welterweight world title boxing match at MGM Grand Garden Arena. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

The party list that made headlines after its logo showed up on the boxing ring of the recent face off between Senator Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner is privately owned and not related to the Department of Tourism.

The government agency was the first to make the clarification, emphasizing that it is not in any way affiliated with “Wow Pilipinas party-list,” which is joining the upcoming mid-term polls in May.

“This clarification is issued in light of reports and insinuations linking the DOT to the aforecited partylist, which strongly goes against the apolitical and nonpartisan nature of the agency whose primary mandate is to promote the Philippine tourism,” DOT said on Facebook.

DOT STATEMENT ON WOW PILIPINASThis is to inform the public that the Department of Tourism (DOT) is not in any way related or affiliated with WOW Pilipinas Partylist.

Posted by Department of Tourism – Philippines on Tuesday, January 22, 2019


It also added that all official communication, including statements and announcements, can only be accessed through its website www.tourism.gov.ph and its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The group later issued a similar statement, emphasizing that it is not a government entity and it is not receiving any support from such.

“We agree with DOT that no government agency should be involved in any political or partisan exercise. Our party is not receiving any form of support from DOT or other government agencies,” it said on Facebook.

Thank you Department of Tourism – Philippines!#TrabahoAtTurismo#WowPilipinas

Posted by WOW Pilipinas Partylist on Tuesday, January 22, 2019


The local party-list sparked controversy when viewers of Pacquiao’s boxing match noticed the organization’s name displayed on parts of the boxing ring.

Some alleged it was “politicizing” the boxing match while others questioned how it was able to afford the major sponsorship of the Las Vegas bout.

Wow Pilipinas said that it is composed of private individuals and groups from different regions with a similar goal as the DOT, that is, to promote local tourism.

“Wow Pilipinas thanks the Department of Tourism for the clarification that the said agency is not, in any way, related or affiliated with our party,” it added.

What is Wow Pilipinas?

Its name sounds like the DOT’s defunct advertising slogan “Wow Philippines” from 2003 to 2010.

Wow Pilipinas, however, is among the 185 political organizations vying for seat at the House of Representatives after the May mid-term elections.

Based on its Certificate of Candidacy, the following individuals will be running under their slate:

  • Bernice Marie Angeles
  • Steven Anthony Relova
  • Kerwin Valero
  • Marvin Vallido
  • Edzel Encarnacion

Its website claims that it is the “leading tourism sector party-list and advocacy” in the country guided by its principles “effective, progressive and inclusive.”

There are no other details of the people behind this group and when was it established.

Moreover, the content on its website and accounts on Twitter and Facebook is only about its sponsored Pacquiao match.