PRESIDENT-ELECT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has tapped reelected Liloan, Cebu Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco as the next secretary of the tourism department, incoming press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles announced on Monday, May 30, 2022.
Frasco, the daughter of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, also serves as the spokesperson of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Frasco would replace Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
In 2021, Frasco 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.”
Angeles said Frasco was also a top performing mayor in Central Visayas, ranking first among the 116 mayors in the entire region and number 1 among all 44 municipal mayors in the province of Cebu.
Under Article 6, Sections 13 and 14, and Article 7, Section 13 of the Constitution, an elected official cannot serve two offices at the same time. He or she will have to vacate the prior office and pass it on to the subordinate officials who are next in rank, before taking another position.
In the May 9 elections, Frasco was elected Liloan mayor, while her husband’s cousin, Aljew Frasco, was elected vice mayor.
Marcos Jr. also nominated radio and television personality Erwin Tulfo as the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, former Manila representative Maria Zenaida Angping as the head of the Presidential Management Staff, and Ivan John Enrile Uy as the secretary of the Department of Information and communication.
Returning as the department’s head now is former undersecretary of the Department of Budget and Management Amenah Pangandaman.
Cruz-Angeles said all the new nominees had accepted their designation.
Jerome Brillantes, election supervisor of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Cebu Province, said Frasco’s appointment as tourism secretary would take effect only after Marcos assumed office as President at noon of June 30.
“BBM can appoint the secretary only after his assumption of office because for now, he is not yet officially President,” Brillantes said.
He added that Frasco would also have to take her oath as Liloan mayor on June 30.
Her appointment after June 30 upon the assumption of office of President-elect Marcos would then create a vacancy “so the rule of succession will follow,” Brillantes said, allowing Vice Mayor-elect Aljew Frasco to succeed her as mayor.
On his Facebook page Monday, reelected Cebu 5th District Rep. Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco congratulated his wife on her appointment as tourism secretary.
“Congratulations Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco! Our country’s next Secretary of the Department of Tourism. I’m so happy and proud of you! Thank you to our President Bongbong Marcos,” Frasco said.
Business leaders in Cebu also welcomed the appointment of Frasco as the country’s next tourism chief.
“We would like to congratulate Ms Frasco (on her) appointment. Her background in government and Cebu’s tourism will surely enable a boom in tourism all over the country,” said Charles Kenneth Co, president of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Melanie Ng, regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Visayas, was also elated by the news.
“I’m sure she will bring vibrant, fresh and innovative tourism programs to the Department of Tourism (DOT). Her heading DOT will most definitely escalate tourism initiatives in the region and provide a big boost to our economic recovery,” Ng said.
Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) president Alfred Reyes called Frasco’s appointment “good news for Cebu.”
“We will be back on the map again. We just hope she knows what Cebu really needs (in terms of tourism),” said Reyes.
Prior to the May elections, the HRRAC enumerated the items on its wish list for Cebu’s tourism sector under the incoming administration.
These include a new convention center in Cebu that can host big meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) activities to decongest big events in Metro Manila.
“Cebu really needs another convention center. Iloilo City already has one and some other areas. This is what I would really ask from the government to really invest in Cebu in terms of putting up a convention center,” said Reyes. “I don’t mind if it would be a private-led project.”
The group also wants to see the improvement of seaport terminals in Cebu and the rest of the gateways in the Philippines, the easing of visa requirements, subsidies to airline companies in terms of paying landing, take-off and parking fees for six months to one year to help them cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, a review of the hotel star rating regulations, and addressing the proliferation of colorum tourist vehicles in Cebu.
Frasco would not be the first person from Cebu to serve as tourism secretary.
Ace Durano was tourism chief from 2004–2010 under the Arroyo administration. (Third Ann Peralta-Malonzo, Katlene O. Cacho-Laurejas, Arvie N. Veloso)