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DOT chief Romulo-Puyat to focus on farm tourism


By Analou de Vera

Incoming Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat offered assurance that she will not disappoint in any way President Duterte who had placed his trust on her as the new member of the Cabinet.

Newly appointed Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (Facebook/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Newly appointed Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (Facebook/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“I’m honored and overwhelmed that he actually thought of me and thought of getting me in this position. I will not disappoint him,” said Puyat in a television interview on Wednesday.

Puyat said that the only instruction of the President when she accepted the position was he did not want any corruption.

The incoming tourism chief said that she is planning to focus on farm tourism which she has been working with the DOT.

“We’ve been working with the Department of Tourism and we’ve been working with them with regard to farm tourism, might as well continue it and also Madrid Fusion,” she said.

“We should continue what programs are already working and what I’m familiar with,” she added.

‘Fit for the job’

Puyat, who was working with the Department of Agriculture for 12 years, said that she was surprised that the President offered her the Tourism chief’s position during a meeting on Tuesday, May 8, in Malacañang.

“I couldn’t believe it because we had a meeting in Malacanang and we were talking about agriculture– I was updating him on the rice situation and then he suddenly asked me,” said Puyat.

“I had no idea because I was there for the Department of Agriculture work. I had no idea,” she said.

Puyat narrated that the President asked her about the resignation of former DOT Secretary Wanda Teo and replied; “Yes. I read about it,” and the President said “I think you are a fit for that job.”

Puyat said that she thought the President’s remark was in jest because the chief executive always jokes around, but it turned out to be serious after all.

“I think you fit the job. I think you are perfect, you’ve been in the DA for 12 years, you’ve been very honest, no corruption and I think it’s bagay (suited) for you,” said Puyat as she quoted the President.

Puyat then narrated that the President introduced her as the “new” tourism secretary to former Senator Sergio Osmeña III and was eventually congratulated by Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Bong Go.

‘Miss Universe and no to conflict of interest’

In a separate interview, Puyat said that she will review the plans with regard to the possible hosting of Miss Universe in the country.

“I want to see first the plans of the Department of Tourism. Ayoko pang magsabi kung tutuluyin ba o hindi. I want to see kasi baka naman may kontrata na sila. Hindi ko alam. Titingnan muna natin,” she said.

[I want to see first the plans of the Department of Tourism. I don’t want to comment yet if we’ll push through or not. I want to see because maybe there is a contract already. I don’t know [yet]. We will see it first.]

Previously, Teo was planning to host the Miss Universe pageant in the country to promote Boracay Island after its rehabilitation.

Puyat also assured that project contracts in the Tourism department will undergo bidding in order to uphold transparency. She also added that her family members will not be involved in any contracts in the office to avoid conflict of interest.

Puyat replaced Teo as tourism chief, after the latter tendered her resignation amid the controversy on the P60-million advertisement placement on the television show, hosted and produced by Tulfo brothers.

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