MANILA - Former President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III recalled the growth of the tourism industry during his administration as he paid tribute to former Tourism Secretary Ramon 'Mon' Jimenez, Jr. who died on Monday.
In a press statement, Aquino recalled Jimenez' role in promoting tourism in the country, starting with his "It's more fun in the Philippines" campaign.
According to Aquino, he was a bit apprehensive upon seeing Jimenez' proposal, expecting it to be just a variation of previous campaigns.
He, however, was proven wrong after Jimenez' presentation, which "fulfilled the need to promote the Philippines with a very limited budget."
"To my surprise, and that of everyone present at that meeting, the video that Mon presented was not just short and entertaining with its catchy music but was informative and very worthwhile," Aquino said.
Aquino also lauded Jimenez for his achievements as tourism secretary "without ever complaining about the lack of hotels, facilities, airports and infrastructure."
"He instead made do with what he had, and the results speak for themselves," he said.
"I was indeed fortunate to have a Cabinet whose members for the most part had a singular agenda: The improvement of the lot of our Bosses. Serving with them was so enriching, that we felt achieving the impossible would just take a little longer," Aquino added.
For Aquino, aside from working as his tourism chief, Jimenez was also instrumental in "crafting the messages" of his administration.
"He helped unify the majority of our people towards achieving the successes that we could be proud of as a nation," he said.
Jimenez also helped in Aquino's election campaign, and was a marketing consultant for the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation.
Though saddened by the loss, Aquino said Jimenez lived his life well.
"Upon reflection of his life that was truly well lived, a life where he gave generously to the benefit of his fellowman, can we begrudge him for being in a better state now, back in the company of his beloved Abby," Aquino said.
"To Mon, Abby, and their daughters Nina and Sassa, we thank all of you," he added.
Jimenez, who reportedly had a heart ailment, expired in his home Monday. His death was unrelated to COVID-19, his family said in a statement.