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Palace exec defends tourism chief, cites good work

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is satisfied with Tourism Secretary Bernadette “Berna” Puyat’s performance, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said yesterday, despite presidential son and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte’s allegations against her.

“He’s (President Duterte) happy with the work of Secretary Berna so far, so abangan na lang natin. Anyway magkakaroon naman kami ng Cabinet meeting… Perhaps we’ll have some directives from the President as far as the Tourism industry is concerned,” Nograles told reporters.

Davao City 1st District Rep. Duterte on Thursday said he had heard of some complaints about Puyat’s management style in relation to her approval of contracts and projects in the Tourism department, but did not specify what the complaints were.

Nograles said he is unaware of any complaints against Puyat that have reached the President and if the two have discussed allegations against her.

He also lauded Puyat, saying tourism industry stakeholders have no complaints against her.

“Under her watch tumaas po ‘yung tourism numbers natin, dumami ‘yung turista natin at maganda naman ‘yung industry,” he said.

The agency earlier said that the number of foreign tourists who visited the country increased by almost 12 percent to 4.1 million in the first half of the year.

“Pati ‘yung mga stakeholder natin sa tourism industry, wala namang reklamo kay Secretary Berna. Mabilis naman umaksyon, masipag naman, maganda naman ‘yung mga project ng DOT right now under her watch,” Nograles added.

Puyat has yet to respond to Rep. Duterte’s claims.