MANILA- Tourism Sec. Wanda Corazon Teo on Friday defended her decision to bring an aide and the department's utility workers with her on foreign trips.
Teo said Angelito Ucol is her executive assistant and not a make-up artist as identified in a newspaper report. She said she was "entitled" to an executive assistant.
"Hindi po siya makeup artist (He is not a makeup artist). He goes [with] me in one of the trips. He works in the office, he files, he types, nagtatrabaho po siya (he is working)," Teo said.
Teo also defended her decision to bring utility workers to a Star Cruises trip, saying it was free.
The cruise line, Teo said, is a partner of her department and gave her 10 cabins for free, which she decided to give to utility workers instead of officials.
"Instead, I give it to little people. Wala pong gastos ang gobyerno because it was for free. Binigay ko po ito sa mga taong mabababa because they have been with DOT for 30 years and they never have travelled," she said.
(The government did not incur any expense because it was for free. I gave it to low-ranking personnel because they have been with DOT for 30 years and they never have travelled.)
"How about these people who are little people? Don't you think they need to travel because they are part of DOT? Yun po ang ginawa ko but I think the report was very malicious," she added.
Teo also denied travelling to Dubai and Sydney as tourism chief and clarified that she went to Russia as part of President Rodrigo Duterte's entourage.