CEBU Governor Gwendolyn Garcia assured her daughter, Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco, that she will have the full support of the Provincial Government when she assumes her post as tourism secretary on June 30, 2022.

Garcia, during the Cebu Tourism Night held Tuesday night, June 21, at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, said she, as the reelected governor of Cebu, will help lead the government’s efforts in reviving the tourism industry.

“Go boldly with the entire support of the entire Cebu tourism industry. As we celebrate Cebu tourism tonight, a deafening signal to the entire country that as you start with your new position with the entire country to look after, you have the full 101 support of Cebu, the entire island of Cebu, and all of our tourism stakeholders,” she said.

“Count me in as your mom and governor of Cebu,” she added. “My heart swells with immeasurable pride, that distinctive Cebuano pride that is unique to us mga kaliwat ni Lapulapu...Ang garbo sa Sugbo, garbo sa Sugboanon, karon nahilukop ug maoy miputos sa akong kasingkasing: kasingkasing isip gobernador, kasingkasing isip inahan.”

Frasco has been appointed as the new tourism secretary by incoming President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

In her speech Tuesday night, Frasco said she will use her experience as local chief executive in spearheading programs and projects of the Department of Tourism (DOT), with collaboration of local government units, concerned government agencies, and tourism sector across the country.

"As my local governance experience has also taught me beyond theoretical notions of developing and promoting tourism is the practical necessity of setting the proper foundation of the industry's medium and long-term success," she said.

She said he will push for more tourism infrastructure projects, such as improvement of roads, bridges and access to seaports and airports, to enhance connectivity and access to different tourist sites.

She also aims to address the challenges down to the grassroots level, which means providing the industry and its employees protection through financial and livelihood assistance.

“Isip usa ka Sugboanon, makalaum kamo nga dad-on nako isip secretary sa turismo ang kasingkasing ug kadasig sa usa ka Sugboanon nga moatubang sa bisan unsang hagit ug kalisod ug moingon, ‘Kumbati, mobarog ako, mopadayon ako kay ako usa ka Sugboanon,’” Frasco said.

Frasco was welcomed Tuesday night as the new DOT chief by the Cebu Provincial Government, Department of Tourism-Central Visayas and tourism stakeholders in Cebu.

She was accompanied by her husband, Cebu Fifth District Representative Duke Frasco.

Also present at the event were DOT-Central Visayas Director Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, Lapu-lapu City Mayor Junard Chan and his wife, Lone Representative-elect Cindi Chan, Mandaue City Representative Emmarie “Lolypop” Ouano-Dizon, Cebu City South District Representative-elect Eduardo Rama, and Senator-elect JV Ejercito, among others.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Chan, in his speech, said he believes Frasco is the person who can ignite again the country’s tourism industry.

“Ikaw ang among garbo sa mga Sugbuanon. Pagka-bulahan namo,” he said.

Tamano, for his part, said: “When President-elect Bongbong Marcos announced our new DOT secretary, one of our own, immediately, my staff and I began receiving messages and calls from well-meaning co-workers, stakeholders, and friends from all over the country and from our DOT foreign offices worldwide, all expressing gratitude to the President and relaying their sincerest intentions to meet our incoming secretary.”

Frasco, before her appointment as the new DOT secretary, served as spokesperson of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio.

In 2021, she was awarded the prestigious Presidential Lingkod Bayan Regional Award by the Civil Service Commission for her exemplary performance as a local chief executive “through proactive initiatives toward innovation in governance and sustainable and inclusive programs fostering excellence in government service.”

She was also the top performing Municipal Mayor among the 116 town mayors in Central Visayas.

She was reelected as Liloan town mayor last May 9, 2022 elections.

Under the Constitution, as an elected official, Frasco cannot serve two offices at the same time, hence she will have to vacate and pass the mayoral office to her ally, Liloan Vice Mayor-elect Aljew Frasco, on June 30.

Jerome Brillantes, election supervisor of the Comelec-Cebu, said last May 30 that Frasco’s appointment as tourism secretary would take effect only after Marcos assumed office as President at noon of June 30, adding that Frasco would also have to take her oath as Liloan mayor on the same day.

Her appointment after June 30 upon the assumption of office of Marcos would then create a vacancy, “so the rule of succession will follow,” Brillantes said. (EHP/LMY)