MANILA, Philippines — After Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo explained her travels, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday affirmed that all Cabinet members still enjoyed the trust and confidence of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Lahat po ng miyembro ng Gabinete ay may tiwala ang Presidente,” said Roque in a radio interview.
“Nagbigay naman ng eksplenasyon na walang katotohanan iyong mga paratang kay Secretary Teo,” he added.
The official said Malacanang stands with Teo given every trip mentioned were “documented.”
On Wednesday, a Philstar report detailed the tourism chief’s local and international travels where her staff, some named as makeup-artist and utility clerks, tagged along. Also included were DOT employees who joined the Star Cruises.
“Hindi po totoo iyong sinasabi na nagdala ng makeup artist, ang dala po niya ay isang executive assistant niya, at lalabas naman po ‘yan,” Roque explained, adding that the Commission on Audit will not shoulder the said employee’s salary if he did not have an item.
In a letter dated February 16, DOT Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre confirmed that Angelito Ucol, the said make-up artist is employed as executive assistant II at the Office of the Secretary.
Alegre also emphasized that on employees who were able to join the cruise trip, no government funds were spent since the travel was arranged in partnership with the cruise liner.
“The management capitalized on this project to allow marginalized DOT employees to gain actual cruise experience,” he said, adding the ones selected were those who have been working at the department for years.
Meanwhile, Roque said the priority on international travel guidelines is on the trip’s significance to an official’s function.
As the DOT chief, Roque said Teo is merely doing her job to market the Philippines