27 tourism officials reassigned for still unknown reasons

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The regional directors and directors of regions producing high tourist arrivals were transferred and/or re-assigned for still unknown reasons.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo in a Memorandum dated January 4, 2018 cited “In the exigency of service” as the reason for the reassignment and the memo  “Shall take effect immediately.”

The reshuffling involve 27 key officials including those coming from Mindanao who are on thick of their preparation for the “One Mindanao Tourism Campaign”.

One Mindanao Tourism campaign aims to attract tourist to recover from the impact of the Marawi siege and the martial law in Mindanao.

Mindanao officials who just started their “One Mindanao Tourism Campaign” were also reassigned as new directors were appointed.

Davao Region tourism director Robbie Alabado is assigned to medical tourism while General Santos City tourism officer Nelly Dillera is assigned to Eastern Visayas (Region VII)

Other regions affected inclue Palawan, Calabarzon, National Capital Region, Cebu , and Zamboanga.

There are reports that those who were reassigned are the officials who gave positive insights about the tourism plans but were considered critics.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo in a Memorandum dated January 4, 2018 which according to the memo “Shall take effect immediately” stated “In the exigency of service” in causing the transfer-assignment of regional directors and key officials in her department.

The affected officials were given 7 days to turn-over documents to their successors.

This developed as a group of bloggers from General Santos City appealed to Teo to spare Dillera.

The letter states “We, the bloggers, vloggers, photographers and social media leaders of SOX region, are respectfully appealing to the Honorable DOT Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo to retain in her current area of responsibility the Department of Tourism-12 Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera.

As agents of change, we wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of the people and in the society in general hence our full support to the programs and activities of DOT-12. We envision our region to become among the best destinations, to be known for its beauty and its many wonders amidst stigma and negative perceptions. The DOT 12 under the leadership of Maam Nelly Nita Dillera has been effective as an outstanding partner of our sector in realizing that vision.

They emphasized, Dilleria’s  “knowledge in the culture, the religion, the dynamics, and the diversity of the place and its people, and being a resident of the SOX region herself has been a great advantage in realizing our goals and helping our endeavors as partners in tourism promotions.”

A regional director who requested not to be identified said “By reshuffling the regional directors and the directors, the overall tourism development will be affected,” says a tourism regional director was given new assignment.

“This reassignment will result to a slowdown of the initiatives and development of the tourist industry in those areas because of the expected adjustments from the Department of Tourism Local Government Units and private sectors who are stakeholders of the tourism industry in their areas,” the tourism officer added.

“Kung kelan kami naka take off with our tourism campaign, tsaka niya ginulo (Just when our tourism campaign took off, she messed it up) the same source said.

With the transfer of Mindanao Tourism directors, some tourism operators said “Tourism industry will be drastically affected. “

“This is like sabotage on the Mindanao Tourism industry,” another described the reshuffling.

The memo which took effect immediately stated “The following officials are hereby re-assigned from their current assignments and/or re-designated” directors: Cynthia Lazo (NCR); Venus Tan (Cordillera Administrative Regoin (CAR); Martin Valera (Ilocos Region); Virgilio Maguiagad (Cagayan Region); Caroline Guzman-Uy (Central Luzon Region); Vernie Morales (Calabarzon); Rebecca Labit (MIMAROPA); Benjamin Santiago (Bicol Region); Helen Catalbas (Western Visayas); Shalimar Tamano (Central Visayas); Nelly Dillera (Eastern Visayas); Karina Rosa Tiopes (Zamboanga Region); Marie Unchuan (Nothern Mindanao); Antonio Fernando Blanco (Southern Mindanao); Maria Rica Bueno (Central Mindanao); Anan Nuguid (CARAGA).

Those given new assignments include: Directors: Danilo Intong (Office of Tourism Standards and Regulation); OIC Cathy Agustin (Office of Industry Manpower Development); Glen Agustin (Office of Market and Product Development); Czarina Loyola (Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research and Informatoin Management) and (Public Advocacy and Communications ); Myra Santos (Internal Audit Service) and (Administrative Service); Gary Politico (Financial Management Service); Jennifer Olba (Legal Affairs Services); Milagros Say (Planning Service); Marissa Diploma (Faith Tourism); Robbie Alabado (Medical Tourism); Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre (Legislative Laiason Unit).

Davao Tourism players eagerly await the assumption of the new DoT director Antonio Fernando Blanco who is reportedly  Teo’s classmate.

While Blanco was serving as DoT director in Zamboanga, the tourism industry was dull, a Zamboanga reporter said.

He also failed to craft a tourism plan for the region.

Blanco (in White) stands beside DoT Secretary Wanda Teo,. Photo taken from Blanco’s FB post in September 2017.

Early days of her appointment, Teo  relieved an Assistant Secretary from Davao, for still unknown reason.

The same Asec was later appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to a much bigger agency citing his competence and dedication to serve the public.

In the past, tourism regional directors are usually residents of their regions, but this time it no longer applies.

Teo in a memorandum however stated “The officials who are reassigned to another geographical location who do not own houses therein shall be provided free quarters within the DOT offices premise, if available. Otherwise, the said officials shall be the money equivalent not exceeding what is currently authorized in accordance with the existing regulations for the payment of rentals of quarters.”-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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