TOURISM Secretary Wanda Teo said no signature campaign will make her from taking back her order to reshuffle several tourism officers all over the country.
"I talked to the President (Rodrigo Duterte) that I will reshuffle the directors and he said 'Do what you want'. Kaya yang signature campaign na iyan, di 'yan uubra sa akin," Teo said in a press conference on Friday at the Seda Abreeza Hotel where she also presented her choice for Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao Regional Director, Antonio Fernando Blanco, from Zamboanga Peninsula Region.
Blanco replaces DOT-Davao director Roberto Alabado III, who was moved to the medical tourism program.
Teo said reshuffling personnel in her Department is her prerogative.
In announcing the revamp that affected 22 tourism directors and five officers-in-charge last week, Teo said, "I decided to exercise my prerogative to reassign 22 DOT directors and five officers-in-charge (OICs) to posts where they would flourish, getting them out of their "comfort zone" to widen opportunities and networks and to face new challenges towards higher creativity and innovation."
The Department order 2018-01 reassigned the following officials: Director Cynthia Lazo (National Capital Region) vice OIC Czarina Zara-Loyola; OIC Caroline Guzman Uy vice Ronald Tiotuico (Central Luzon); Director Vernie Morales vice Rebecca Labit (Calabarzon); Director Labit vice Danilo Intong (Mimaropa); Director Shalimar Tamano vice Catalino Chan III (Central Visayas); Director Nelly Nita Dillera vice Karina Tiopes (Eastern Visayas); Director Tiopes vice Antonio Fernando Blanco (Zamboanga region); Director Blanco vice Roberto Alabado III (Southern Mindanao); Director Ma. Rica Bueno vice Director Dillera (Central Mindanao); and Director Ana Nuguid vice Mary Jean Camarin (Caraga).
Director Intong from Mimaropa replaces Bueno at the Office of Tourism Standards and Regulation; Cathy Agustin is OIC of the Office of Industry Manpower Development; Glen Agustin is OIC of the Market and Product Development Office after Director Verna Esmeraldo Buensuceso was appointed as attaché to Tokyo last year; Director Loyola vice Milagros Say (Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research and Information Management) and Director of the Office of Public Advocacy and Communications; Director Myra Santos vice Jun Garduque (Internal Audit) and vice Vernie Morales (Administrative Service); Gary Politico, OIC of Financial Management Service vice Director Myra Santos; Director Say, OIC of Planning Service vice Politico; Director Marissa Diploma (Faith Tourism); Director Alabado vice Director Lazo (Medical Tourism); Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Frederick M. Alegre will handle the Legislative Liaison Unit vice Director Tamano.
She gave them all just one week to pack up and go to their new assignments.
The reshuffling took everyone by surprise, especially those who were reassigned as the order came without a warning or a consultation.
Among those who appealed that Alabado be retained was Davao City Tourism Operations Office head Generose Tecson, saying Alabado is very knowledgeable about the region, and this is an advantage as the region focuses on its natural resources and indigenous cultures as among its biggest draw.
"RD Rob has given the city if not the whole region his wholehearted support and pushed for the betterment of the industry... I really hope that Secretary Teo will reconsider and make RD Rob stay on to finish the various programs and projects that he has initiated," Tecson said in an earlier interview.