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The head of the DoT is moving forward despite the budget cuts

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Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is moving forward despite being given a proposed 2021 budget that is over P90 million less than this year.

Head of Tourism Bernadette-Romulo Puyat
(Photo of the MANILA Photo Bulletin)

While briefing the House Acquisition Committee on Thursday on the proposed DoT budget of P3.5 billion for 2021, Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr. expressed concern that reduced segregation could adversely affect agency performance.

Bordado underlined that the tourism industry contributes 12.7 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while the sector share in total employment in the Philippines is 13.5 percent.

“But the department will receive a budget 12 percent lower than its allocation for 2020. What will be the impact of this budget cut on DT’s overall performance in 2021? soloni asked DoT officials.

“P93.6 million tons lower, this was the level of budget provided by DBM (Department of Budget and Management). “Hopefully it will not… well, I would like to think that we would still be able to provide what we needed given the pandemic,” Puyat said.

“But since this was the budget ceiling given to us by DBM, we will do with what we have,” she added.

Asked by Bordado if she still expects DBM to increase their budget for next year, Puyat said she fully understood the difficult fiscal situation as a result of the public health emergency.

“We respect him[atë]because it is COVID (time) now and other departments also need (more budget), “she said.

“Of course we want to thank your honor (Bordado) for recognizing the importance of tourism. It is lower for P93.6 million, but we will do, we will do with what we have, “said the DoT chief.

Puyat stressed in the budget discussion that domestic tourism would be the focus of the DoT for now. This approach is supported by the results of a DoT study which showed that 77 percent of domestic tourists would still like to travel to the county, despite the lack of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The most important thing for us is to resume tourism. ‘Yung nawalan ng trabaho, means to trabaho (Those who have lost their jobs must regain their jobs). Of course (we will do this) considering health and safety protocols. It is a slow and safe start. We assure you that we will do it very carefully, “she told the Chamber panel.

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