“I want a sustainable tourism. I want to boost tourism without harming the environment, and basically promote the values, the culture and traditions of the local community.”
The New Department of Tourism Secretary (DOT), Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is now officially on her second day of work. But a day before she reported to her office, she ordered all undersecretaries and assistant secretaries of the Department to resign effective immediately so she can start with a clean slate and to have a free hand to perform her mandate.
In a TV interview, Puyat said that she already received their courtesy resignations, and submitted their resignation letters, but she has given them till May 21 to follow her order. She also admitted that she will retain some career officials and has already chosen some people to be part of her staff. But she also admitted that she already met with the undersecretaries and assistant secretaries.
Aside from studying and reviewing all the contracts and programs made by the former secretary, Puyat said that she will be talking to Cesar Montano today to ask him to explain regarding his project “Buhay Carindera” under the office of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), which Montano is the head. The program features local street food and eateries.
In the said interview, Puyat said that she wanted to know, based on the reports coming out, if there’s a truth that Montano already paid in full the project organizer even when the event has yet to start. “I want him to hear his side and ask him regarding his budget. I will be bothered if there was no proper bidding regarding the project because I will be the one implementing it and I will be liable if there’s wrong with it. I want to know if there was a proper process. I don’t want to be malicious about it, I want proofs and I’m here to listen to his explanation,” she said.
An economist and a UP graduate, Puyat, who served three presidents (Arroyo, Aquino and Duterte), said that for the sake of transparency, she will review all contracts made by the past DOT chief and cancel all projects that didn’t go through proper bidding procedures.
As the new COT secretary, Puyat wants to promote culinary and farm tourism. She believes that food is one of the best ways to promote a place.