MANILA, Philippines – Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo still enjoys President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust and confidence amid criticism on her decision to bring Department of Tourism (DOT) employees on foreign trips. (READ: Wanda Teo defends overseas trips of DOT clerks, drivers)
“Nagbigay naman ng eksplenasyon na walang katotohanan iyong mga paratang kay Secretary Teo. At naninindigan po kami na lahat naman po iyon dokumentado,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday February 18, in an interview with dz MM.
(An explanation was given that there was no proof on the allegations against Secretary Teo and we believe that all of that is documented.)
He added, “So hindi po totoo iyong sinasabi na nagdala ng makeup artist, ang dala po niya ay isang executive assistant niya, at lalabas naman po ‘yan... Kasi dahil kasama siya sa official delegasyon. Hindi iyan babayaran ng COA kung walang appointment ‘yan as executive assistant,”
(So the rumor that a make up artist joined the trip is not true. It was her executive assistant who she brought along and it will come out... because she was part of the official delegation. The COA [Commission on Audit] will not pay for that if she was not appointed as executive assistant.)
Teo came under fire as she responded to reports that detailed department drivers, clerks, and utility workers were taken on a Star Ships cruise.
Reports also said Teo brought along Angelito Ucol – described in a Philippine Star report as Teo's "makeup artist” – but who she later clarified was her executive assistant.
In line with this, Roque maintained that President Duterte’s travel orders on Cabinet official’s overseas travels are still in place.
He also repeated that as tourism secretary, it is not surprising for Teo to go on a number of overseas trips.
“Bilang isang Department of Tourism Secretary, trabaho talaga ni Secretary Teo ibenta ang Pilipinas dahil kung hindi, magiging pabaya siya sa kaniyang katungkulan.” he said.
(As the Department of Tourism secretary, it is really Secretary Teo’s job to sell the Philippines otherwise she would be neglecting her duties.) – Rappler.com