Romulo-Puyat says 5 tourism execs have resigned

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2018 07:11 PM | Updated as of May 16 2018 08:32 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Wednesday revealed that five key executives of the department have heeded her order to hand in courtesy resignations. 

“I only asked for it because inunahan ko lang sila kasi nakakahiya, biglang kakapasok ko lang nagresign silang lahat,” Puyat clarified.

Before assuming office, she told ANC that the resignation of some tourism officials would give her a free hand in choosing who she can work with. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) will disclose the names of those who tendered their resignations after May 21. One of them, however, is Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre, who submitted his courtesy resignation on Tuesday. 

MEETING WITH CESAR MONTANO

Puyat met with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) head Cesar Montano Wednesday afternoon to seek an explanation on the P80-million Buhay Carinderia Project, one of the government’s food tourism programs.

Philippine Star columnist Boo Chanco earlier alleged in an article that Montano paid P80 million in full to a certain Linda Legaspi to mount an event that will feature Filipino street food and local eateries.

Under standard practice, the government must pay in tranches. The last disbursement must be made after the completion of the project.

“I just want to ask him. There are always two sides naman diba. Nakita ko yung isang side. Ayoko naman husgahan without finding out his side. Kawawa naman yung tao. So I want to see his side. I’m sure may explanation sya kung ano ang nangyari dito,” Puyat said. 

Puyat also wanted to clarify with Montano a report claiming he cut short his attendance to an official event in the United States to catch a Broadway show.

The meeting with Montano was originally scheduled at 5 p.m. at the DOT office in Makati. But Puyat moved it to a different venue, which she refused to disclose to media.

“I decided to move it to another venue, not here. Kasi feeling ko pag dito, hindi ba, ayoko namang—I want it to be private,” she said.

Prior to the meeting, Puyat said Montano had not tendered his resignation.

“I want to make it clear. Hindi ko pa sya hinuhusgahan. In fact, I want to meet with him coz I want to hear his side,” she said.

Montano is on a hold-over capacity as his term as TPB chief has already expired, but it will be up to tourism stakeholders if his tenure will be extended, Puyat added.