EVERY one of us has a management style. That means how one manages his/her time and resources to achieve whatever goal has been set for the day, week or month. In this era of uncertainty, transportation crisis characterized by the daily congested traffic, and financial difficulties, not to mention criminality and government’s failure to extend even basic services to all, only a few could manage to write annual personal goals.
Since Rep. Paulo Duterte of Davao City is a presidential son, it is certainly interesting to know what issue or topic would prompt him to stand in plenary and deliver a privilege speech. What huge and important public issue – in Davao or elsewhere – would deserve the young congressman’s time and notice for him to speak and contribute to the congressional records. Lo and behold… it’s about Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat’s management style.
Congressman Duterte objected to Romulo-Puyat’s handling of some projects in the DOT, for it seems she has failed to learn from the failings of her predecessor, Wanda Tulfo Teo.
And when he pointed this out to the tourism secretary, she went to his father to complain.
The young Duterte’s lament which he perorated on the floor of the House was a big hazy, but then employees of the Department of Tourism and known tourism advocates such as Robert “Bobby” Lim Joseph, long-time president of Network of Independent Travel and Allied Services (NITAS) and founder of other tourism organizations, have supported Duterte’s allegations, lending credibility to what he said.
Joseph reported that rank-and-file employees and stakeholders at the DOT are complaining about overtime payments and other problems. They told Joseph that Secretary Romulo Puyat, in her 16 months as tourism chief, participated only thrice at the flag-raising ceremony and usually works from 3 to 7 pm. She also did not release accomplishment reports on the 16 foreign trips she took as DOT chief, it was alleged.
These complaints are superficial, except for the last one, for a tourism secretary really should announce if she/he is able to get tourism endorsements especially following foreign trips. Critics think that Romulo Puyat is acting like a prima donna and has an attitude problem, as Congressman Duterte claimed.
Tourism’s growth the past few years may be attributed to President Duterte’s pivot to China – 1.4 million Chinese tourists a year and growing – and the continuous rise of that country’s robust economy. Tourists from South Korea, Japan, the United States and Europe are coming in because of the rehabilitated Boracay island and the relative stability of peace and order situation in the country. The rehabilitation of Manila Bay undertaken with great effort by the Duterte administration is not just an environmental concern, but also one for tourism.
Leaders in the industry are correct in pointing out that tourism is a serious business and should be managed by honest, hardworking professionals, both in the government and the private sector.