Harper out of Intramuros; Lapid as trade-off in PTA?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2010 03:44 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2010 03:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Newly-appointed Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim has chosen businessman Jose “Junjun” Capistrano, Jr. to replace Anna Marie “Bambi” Harper as administrator of the historic walled city of Intramuros.

Lim told ANC’s Headstart on Tuesday that he needed someone who would make Intramuros “a truly heritage site, a destination that Manila needs.”

The Intramuros administrator is responsible for making the former seat of Spanish colonial rule into a prime urban tour destination in the country.

The Intramuros Administration is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism.

This will not be the first time for Capistrano, a former Ateneo Alumni Association President, to sit as Intramuros administrator.

He had a short stint during former President Corazon Aquino’s term but was immediately transferred to the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA). As PTA chief, he helped privatize Fort Ilocandia.

Lim described Harper a “very accomplished culturati.” He said, however, that Harper is co-terminus with former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

There are groups that want Harper to remain as Intramuros administrator.

As the DoT-attached agency’s chief, she became controversial in 2008 when she allegedly allowed the cutting of decades-old trees at the Plaza de Roma in front of the Manila Cathedral.

Lapid as trade-off?

Meanwhile, Lim remains mum on the fate of former Pampanga Governor Mark Lapid as general manager and chief executive of the PTA.

Lapid, the son of former movie actor and now senator Lito Lapid, was appointed by Arroyo in 2008.

Lim shrugged off allegations that Lapid is being retained in exchange for his father’s support for the administration’s bet in the Senate presidency, Senator Francis Pangilinan.

“He was there for 2 years already so he was a concession in the last administration or he was capable. I still have to evaluate his performance. It’s very hard to evaluate the performance of the PTA,” Lim said.

PTA is a corporate entity attached to the DoT. It is tasked to harness the private sector into tapping available resources for the purpose of boosting the tourism industry.

“There’s so much money and so many requests from so many people to fund this or that.  You don’t know what is necessary. So, I guess as chairman, I have to review and say these are our priorities. It’s up to the [PTA] to execute,” Lim said.