CEBU CITY – Liloan, Cebu Mayor Ma. Christina Garcia-Frasco can share Cebu’s post-pandemic initiatives in revitalizing the country’s tourism industry, her mother Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said on Tuesday.
In a presser, Garcia thanked President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for considering a Cebuana to head the Department of Tourism, stressing Christina’s first-hand involvement in rolling out programs to regenerate the tourism economy affected by lockdowns and surges in Covid-19 cases and the Typhoon Odette.
“As the governor of Cebu. I am very proud that the next Secretary of Tourism is a Cebuana. This is such a huge vote of confidence… The initiatives and processes that Cebu has been able to accomplish despite the challenges of the pandemic and the calamity,” Garcia said.
She said Marcos’ decision to appoint a Cebuana as DOT secretary “is such a manifestation of faith (to) Cebu” and a recognition of the fact that Cebu is a tourism hub of the entire country.
She underscored Garcia-Frasco’s “immersion” in the province’s tourism programs during her first term of office as governor in 2004, which gives the mayor ample knowledge of the provincial government’s holistic view of tourism as a driver of the local economy.
Garcia introduced the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo (stroll Cebu) in 2004 and since then, hundreds of domestic and foreign travelers were brought to different towns to experience “hidden gems” in the locals’ culture and heritage.
Apart from her bid to push countryside tourism, Garcia also initiated the “Pasigarbo sa Sugbo”, an annual Sinulog-like festival run and hosted by the Cebu provincial government every August to jibe the province’s founding anniversary celebration.
Known as a “festival of festivals”, Pasigarbo would showcase the cultural dances of each of the province’s 44 towns and six component cities, as well as their famous delicacies.
She expressed confidence in Garcia-Frasco’s capability to run the tourism department, saying her experience in helping Cebu “on how we have been able to define our direction consistently and how we’ve been able to revive Cebu’s economy” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The governor said Garcia-Frasco consulted her and the mayors under One Cebu Party before accepting the offer to lead the DOT.
Garcia-Frasco, a lawyer, has accepted her appointment as the next chief of the DOT under the Marcos administration.
Meanwhile, the governor entertained the idea of transferring the DOT office to Cebu, saying it was first introduced by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she appointed a Cebuano, Ace Durano as tourism chief.
Durano lost to Garcia in the May 9 gubernatorial race.
However, Commission on Election (Comelec)-Cebu supervisor Jerome Brillantes on Tuesday said Garcia-Frasco still has to assume office as reelected mayor of northern Cebu town of Liloan so that the rule on succession will apply and the duly elected vice mayor, Aljew Frasco, will succeed her.
Brillantes said in a radio interview Aljew could not succeed as mayor if the duly elected mayor will not assume office on June 30.
The camp of Mayor Garcia-Frasco is yet to release a statement on this matter. (PNA)