Senators welcome appointment of 'clean, very qualified' tourism chief

MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Wednesday, May 9, welcomed the appointment of Bernadette Romulo-Puyat as the new tourism chief, citing the “integrity and competence” she has shown in as a public official.

“She has done well in all her government postings. She has a clean record. She has good academic credentials and is very qualified to be the secretary of tourism,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.

Puyat served the Aquino administration as agriculture undersecretary for special concerns, and the current administration as agriculture undersecretary for administration, agribusiness and marketing, and regional engagement.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, for his part, said, “We believe in her competence and integrity as the new tourism secretary.”

Aquino said Puyat’s appointment should be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments as soon as possible so she could “address the challenges at the DOT, like the Boracay closure and rehabilitation.”

Senator Nancy Binay, chairperson of the Senate tourism committee, also welcomed the appointment of Puyat.

“As chair of the Senate committee on tourism, I look forward to working with her to push forward our tourism agenda, and bring her expertise in farm tourism and ecotourism being sustainable approaches to rural development,” Binay said.

In the House of Representatives, Siquijor Representative Rav Rocamora expressed hope that with her agriculture background, Puyat would help showcase his province in terms of farm and fisheries tourism.

"I am really hopeful that with her long service in the Department of Agriculture, she will be able to seamlessly combine agriculture and fisheries growth with ecological integrity, rise in tourism and of course higher incomes for farmers and fisherfolks. Please, help Siquijor be your showcase of farm and fisheries tourism, Madam Secretary. The potential is there. It only needs proper planning and execution," Rocamora said.

He said that Siquijor can become a "catch basin" for tourists following the closure of Boracay Island, but added that any tourism-related development in the province should learn from the Boracay experience. –