Press Release
May 30, 2018

Speech Endorsing the Confirmation of Berna Romulo-Puyat as Secretary of Tourism
Delivered by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto

Mr. President, my esteemed colleagues, ladies and gentlemen :

The nominee might probably break the Commission record as to the number of endorsement speeches.

That the support flows from both sides of the aisle is a testament to her record of clean, competent and committed public service.

If ever there was one question, it isn't why she has been appointed, but why it took so long for her to be elevated to Cabinet rank.

When her value was finally rewarded, she had by then accumulated a wealth of experience that makes her extremely overqualified for the job.

At a time when the last and the least, and not the best and the brightest, are dumped on agencies, DOT is fortunate to have her. It did not only get a manager, but an ad model as well.

She is one Tourism secretary who can also be the national poster girl for tourism.

As you can see, she has the face that could launch a thousand cruise ships. And I say that with authority having been married to the original Eskinol girl.

But let us focus on the nominee's beautiful mind instead, for that is what matters most.

Her two decades of government service is detailed in three pages of fine print in her CV.

While her longest stint has been with the Department of Agriculture, which spanned three administrations, what is not well known is that she had served in four dozens task forces, committees, advisory councils, and corporate boards.

Despite her punishing workload, at home and at work, she made time to teach fiscal policy for 20 years in that public school in Diliman.

This, I believe, will serve her in good stead as she restores sense on how the billions of pesos allocated to DOT, both regular and off-budget, are spent.

For one, I know that this professor - and practitioner - of fiscal discipline will not go into the carenderia business, despite the spectacular success of her farm-to-table, Manila-to-Madrid gastronomical projects which allowed the world's leading food writers to savor Filipino culinary masterpieces and their readers to salivate for them.

She will not waste her time and our money in cooking up useless gimmicks which will only trigger a turo-turo or finger-pointing frenzy among the cooks.

If ever, she will wisely spend bulk of the DOT marketing budget on the Korean, Japanese, Chinese markets or the so-called kimchi, sushi, dimsum markets, which account for 7 in 10 tourist arrivals.

She is what is needed at a time when tourism is buffeted with many challenges, from increasing competition from abroad, to the worsening contamination of our famous beaches.

Mr. President :

It is my honor to endorse, second and vote for the confirmation of the appointment of Berna Tecson Romulo-Puyat as Secretary of Tourism.

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