MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman said Thursday he has been visiting various provinces to promote the revival of the tourism sector, with his trips continuing despite flak over an event he attended that saw a mass gathering amid the continuing COVID-19 threat.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday held his press conference in Palawan province, where some towns recently started welcoming tourists again.
In recent months, he also visited Subic in Zambales, Cebu, Boracay, Bohol, Quezon, and Cagayan. He has also been flying to Davao City for meetings with the President.
"It's become part of an advocacy of my office to help those that have opened tourism dahil importante na nga na magkaroon muli ng hanapbuhay ang ating mga kababayan," he told reporters.
(It is important for our compatriots to have their livelihood back.)
Roque said his office had an P800,000 budget this year and that "mostly my personal funds" are used for his trips.
Roque earlier this week said he was "looking forward to retirement" when asked if he would run for senator in the 2022 elections.
Video courtesy of PTV
Virus curbs remain in place across the country, with mass gatherings still prohibited and businesses and places of worship opening on limited capacity as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Those who are authorized to go outside their homes like essential workers "can travel to provinces and back so long as he can show company ID and prove that it’s essential travel," said Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.
"The same applies to government officials," he told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
"As to non-APOR (authorized persons outside residence), they need medical certificate and PNP travel authority and comply with LGU policies if travel to said LGU is 'restricted.' If unrestricted, Med cert (medical certificate) and PNP travel authority will do," he added.
The Philippines has tallied over 430,000 coronavirus infections.