Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is seen as one of the country’s major economic pillars that will help the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic under the new administration, Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco said Monday.

In her message during Monday's flag-raising ceremony, Frasco said President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s directive for the agency was to become one of the “major economic contributors” to help the country recover from the effects of the pandemic in the past few years.

“We must not only continue to do the work that we have been doing, but we must exert extra effort to give everything that we can within what is humanly possible,” she said.

Tourism was among the hardest hit industries at the height of the pandemic.

Frasco cited her experience as mayor of Liloan in Cebu province, a major tourism hotspot, before her appointment in the DOT.

“The work that we do here in the central office and in the regional offices all over the Philippines is important because it will determine whether or not the Department of Tourism can continue to be a potent force for economic resuscitation and economic survival,” she said.

In addition to crafting national policy, she said the DOT would be “in touch with the realities on the ground” and give attention to tourism sites, peoples, and products that “have not necessarily been given equal opportunity.”

“All of our partners in the local government units in the 81 provinces, over 140 cities, and over 1,400 municipalities across the Philippines, to extend to them the hand of collaboration from the DOT, and to send across the message that we are here to help the industry arise and recover,” she said.

She said she would begin a tour of the regional offices of the DOT nationwide within the week.

“The objective being to be front and center of the prevailing issues that need to be addressed, and to craft solutions that will ensure the full rehabilitation and recovery of the tourism industry,” she said. (PNA)