Tourism Secretary Bernadette Fatima Romulo Puyat guaranteed that Filipinos’ contagious love of country will make foreign visitors fall in love with the Philippines and its people, as she accepted the challenge of boosting the tourism industry as a key economic driver.
Puyat made the assertion in her introductory remarks before the Commission on Appointments (CA) committee on tourism, leading to the rousing approval of her nomination as Secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT) Tuesday morning at the Senate building in Pasay City.
Puyat’s father, former senator and current chairman of the Development Bank of the Philippines Alberto Romulo, and her elder sister Monserrat Romulo were present during the proceedings presided by Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas.
The 49-year old DOT head’s final confirmation is expected to breeze through the formalities at the plenary Wednesday morning.
The new DOT head said she is banking on her experience as an economist, educator and government executive to advance her advocacies on culinary, farm tourism, heritage tourism and eco-tourism.
Puyat also assured that tourism would be an engine for investments, employment, growth and national development; that she would implement the National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2022; conduct regular consultation with stakeholders, and renew the country’s leadership position in global tourism organizations.
She likewise promised to work closely with the Boracay Task Force, and would fully implement the Farm Tourism Law.
The tourism chief also vowed “to prioritize improving polices on access, connectivity, and security as well as enhance programs on tourism infrastructure”.
“Every challenge will be our chance to contribute to the growth of tourism and of the Philippine economy. It will also define our love of country and of the Filipino people,” she said.
Following Puyat’s introduction, Senator Miguel Zubiri quickly moved for her immediate confirmation.
“I’ve known her for a very long time and there’s only one person that has my vote when it comes to being part of the government service that has integrity and hard work,” he said.
“I am speaking on behalf of the farmers, Berna has done a lot for agriculture and she is championing farm and agri-tourism. We are very supportive of that,” said Sen. Cynthia Villar who seconded the motion.
Prior to her appointment to the DOT, Puyat boasts of 17 years of public service, having served three administrations in various capacities.
“It was humbling as it was heartwarming having been entrusted with a huge responsibility. It is a great role to lead a vibrant industry that promotes the image of the country and supports economic growth,” said Puyat.