DOT secures Senate nod on DOT Budget

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expresses gratitude to the esteemed members of the Senate of the Philippines for their swift move to submit the proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 of the DOT and all of its attached agencies for the body’s consideration.

“This approval from the Senate is very much appreciated by the entire Department, and a clear manifestation of our honorable Senators’ relentless support towards the country’s full tourism transformation. Our gratitude is due to our honorable Senators, who have demonstrated their strong commitment to their duty to meticulously review the budget proposals of all Departments before the House-Senate bicameral conference on the 2024 national budget,” DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said.

The Department, Secretary Frasco noted, is especially heartened by the outpouring of support from the Senators led by Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, who expressed support for a higher budget for the Department to aid in its promotion of Philippine tourism to boost the country’s arrivals.

“Hopefully we reach five million by December. That’s good news. And hopefully we can double it. Let’s work hard. More ads. More ads, guys! Dagdagan natin ang budget nila para magka-ads tayo,” Senate President Zubiri remarked, as Senator Nancy Binay, who sponsored and defended the DOT’s budget, shared that the country has now received over 4.7 million as of November 21.

Senator Binay sponsored and defended the proposed Php 3.339 billion budget for the DOT and its attached agencies under the Senate Finance Committee report on House Bill No. 8980 or the 2024 General Appropriations Bill.

Meanwhile, the DOT assures that it will commence the investigation on the alleged inappropriate actions of Philippine Retirement Authority  (PRA) General Manager Cynthia Carreon who sent text messages to certain Senators on the day of the plenary session to hurry up their deliberations. The Department deplores any form of disrespect to any of the members of the legislative branch of the government.

As pointed out by Secretary Frasco in an earlier statement, Ms. Carreon’s actuations “were of her own volition and clearly without imprimatur of the Department or any of its officials.”

The DOT likewise reiterates that it yields to the authority of the upper chamber of the Bicameral Congress of the Philippines and its constitutional mandate to deliberate upon the budget of all government agencies.

“The Secretary is a good friend of all Senators here. She never complained. Kahit siguro alas tres na ma-hear ‘yung budget ng DOT, hindi magrereklamo ‘yan. Because she knows what’s happening here in Congress, or in the Senate in particular,” Senator Jinggoy Estrada said in light of the incident.

Secretary Frasco had said she has ordered an immediate investigation and the same is underway.

“We will continue to work towards safeguarding and sustaining our gains so far so tourism may continue to be one of the strongest pillars of our economy, providing millions of jobs to our fellow Filipinos,” Secretary Frasco said.

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