Press Release
September 13, 2016

Drilon bats for more budget for tourism development

While most agencies would come to the budget hearing to ask for more funds, such is not the case with the Department of Tourism (DOT), whose budget was slashed by P1.2 billion in 2017, yet it took a vigorous prodding from a senator to admit that its budget is not enough.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin M. Drilon lamented the huge decrease in the budget of the DOT during today's budget hearing of the agency.

Drilon said that the tourism department's budget was slashed by 32 percent from P3.62 billion this year to P2.40 billion next year.

Asked by Drilon if their proposed budget should be increased, tourism officials led by Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo could not categorically state whether they would need additional funding or not.

It was even Drilon who prodded them "dagdagan n'yo (increase it)."

The senator believed that it is imperative that the DOT be given sufficient funding to bolster its tourism campaign particularly "in light of the recent issues confronting our country including the vigilante killings, the Davao bombing, etc."

"This is a crucial time for the government to step up its tourism efforts in order to counter any negative perception that the international community may have towards our country," Drilon said.

"The effects of this negative perception on our tourism remain to be seen, but it will definitely hit us," Drilon stressed.

"That is why, the DOT should enhance its tourism promotion programs and increase our presence in the international media by placing more ads, so that we can show that world that it is still 'more fun in the Philippines' despite these negative news about our country," he underscored.

Under the proposed P2.4 billion of the DOT, only P300 million was allotted for the branding related programs of the agency, which is way below its current level of P1.15 billion.

Drilon noted that the country attracted around five million in foreign visitors last year and the tourism sector's contribution in the gross domestic product is equivalent to 8.3 percent.

"Given its meager budget, I do not think the DOT can perform its tasks effectively. The committee should work out to infusing more funds into the agency's tourism campaign programs," Drilon concluded.

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