Tourism stakeholders petition to retain their directors

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DAVAO CITY , Philippines — Tourism stakeholders  from  different regions affected by the recent memorandum transferring/reassigning their regional officials are up in arms for the retention of their officials.

The petitioners claim tourism officers must come from their regions because they know the language and culture of their respective areas which makes tourism promotion earlier.

On January 4, 2018, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo issued a memorandum to affect  the transfer of 27 tourism officials.

The memorandum  did not cite the reason but just stated  “In the exigency of service.” ( Tourism-officials-reassigned-for-still-unknown-reasons).

The affected officials were given seven days to turn  over the documents to their successors.

But Tourism players in the different regions signed petitions asking Teo to retain the tourism officers.

Tourism stakeholders even from her  own province in Davao Oriental also signed the petition asking Teo to retain Davao regional tourism officer Roberto “Robby” Alabado.

Zamboanga regional director Antonio Fernando Blanco will replace Alabdo.

Blanco will be the first tourism director who is not from   Southern Mindanao.

Lax Junnel V. Mendoza, president of the Association of Travel and Tour Agencies (ATTA)-Calabazron Inc. wrote President Rodrigo Duterte asking him to intervene in their problem as CALABARZON Regional Director Rebecca Labit has been transferred.

The letter stated “In the light of your pronouncement of the Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazaon Teo-Tulfo, for a re-shuffling of assignments of Regional Directors with a 1-week transition, that our Regional Director Rebecca Villanueva Labit be retained on her position as such in CALABARZON.”

Director Labit has been with Region IVA-CALABARZON for more or less four (4) years now. She has exemplified true leadership by strengthening the partnership between the Public and Private sectors, which she, together with us from the private sectors, believe that this is a strong foundation for any endeavour or undertakings pertaining to the tourism industry of the Region.

Mendoza in a two-page letter to the President stated “When Director Labit joined the Region sometime in 2013, there has been a massive increase of more or less 40% in the Accreditation of Primary Tourism Establishments as per the RA 9593, otherwise known the Tourism Act of 2009. Her tutelage inspires not only the Provincial and Local Government Units to adhere to a common goal of tourism planning, development, promotion and control, but also the Private as Stakeholders, who are closely working hand-in-hand with the Regional office, hence the birth of the Association of Travel and Tour Agencies of CALABARZON, Incorporated (ATTA-CALABARZON, Inc), the First ORGANIZATION in the country whose members are all DOT Accredited.”

Calabarzon stakeholders said Labit’s “Drive and passion for the progress of the region’s tourism industry are manifested by her initiative in introducing trainings, seminars, open discussions, full support and participations in different tourism events, both Local and International.”

Mendoza said Labit’s involvement and commitment to the region “Is immeasurable, tagged as Darling of the Regional Tourism, her assertiveness in any Tourism-related activities is incomparable. VOX DEI, VOX POPULI. We are the private tourism stakeholders, and I pray that our voices be heard for we are the strongest partner of the Department of Tourism in order to realize their dreams, visions and aspirations. I f we will be heard, then probably, our support wasn’t too strong that we may all opt to just live our lives on our own.”

The Calabarzon group also initiated an online petition change,org soliciting support for the retention of Labit, as of 12:20 Monday morning, 323 signed the petition

A group of Bloggers from General Santos City also filed a peition, “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.”

The group cited Dillera’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.”

They said while the understand that it is an executive privilege to transfer Regional Directors from one area to another “We are appealing to make an exemption for the moment.

The letter added “A week’s notice to end the speeding progress of our region’s tourism industry is a deliberate neglect of the converging efforts of all the sectors involved. We have just gained momentum in promoting tourism in the region to become known as one of the best tourist destinations in the country under the leadership of Maam Nelly and we are afraid that her sudden reassignment in this period might have a negative impact to what we have just started.”

In DavaO City, City Tourism Officer Generose Tecson has reportedly filed an appeal asking Teo to retain Alabado.

Alabado was transferred to the Medical Tourism Office in Metro Manila while Dillera to Eastern Visayas. The two are initiated the One Mindanao Tourism Campaigned, a promotion seeking to attract tourist in the light of the recent Marawi crisis and the martial law declaration in Mindanao. The project has just kicked off.

The affected DoT officials are also facing the blank wall as they are not not informed of the reason behind their transfer.-Editha Z. Caduaya/

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