News and Updates
Frasco thanks lawmakers for the swift approval and support for increase of Php 2.7 B DOT budget
20 September 2023
BATASAN COMPLEX,Quezon City— Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco expressed elation over the swift approval of the House of Representatives (HoR) on the proposed budget of the Department of Tourism (DOT) during the plenary deliberations on Tuesday (Sept. 19).
“The Department of Tourism expresses its utmost gratitude to the leadership of the House of Representatives and its members for strongly supporting the passage and increase of the Department’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024. Their resounding support reflects their recognition of tourism as an essential economic pillar for our country, which, given the fiscal tools to expand, can only increase the Php 1.87 Trillion in visitor receipts and 5.35 million jobs contributed by tourism to our economy thus far. We thank as well our tourism champion Isabela Representative Faustino “Inno” Dy, V. We assure the lower House of Congress that our budget will be utilized with utmost efficiency, transparency, and accountability turning into reality President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s vision of transforming the Philippines into a tourism powerhouse in Asia,” enthused the tourism chief.
“While the tourism industry has had robust recovery in the first year of the Marcos Administration, there is still much to be done to improve and increase competitiveness especially on the aspects of infrastructure, connectivity, digitalization, and equalization of tourism development across the country. We remain committed to take on the challenge of transformation inspired by our President’s prioritization of tourism,” added the tourism chief.
As of September 19, 2023, the DOT has recorded 3,877,183 visitor arrivals, or 80.77 percent of the Department’s 4.8 million target for 2023.
To recall, the tourism chief at the budget hearing carried out by the HoR Committee on Appropriations presented the DOT’s budget and necessary resources enclosed in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for next year, which consists of an allocation of Php 2.99 billion which encompasses the budget for its attached agencies. The amount, which is a significant decrease from the DOT’s Php 3.7 billion budget for the current year, prompted lawmakers to bat for the increase in the budget, noting the significant contribution of the tourism industry to the Philippine economy.
“While tourism has been identified by the President as one of the pillars of our economic recovery, it continues to receive one of the lowest budget among the national agencies, in fact, it was reduced by about a billion pesos from last year’s budget,” noted Representative Dy in his opening statement.
“Our ASEAN neighbors have given utmost importance to tourism as their major economic source by providing it with budget that is double, if not triple of what our Philippine Department of Tourism is receiving; such meager budget does not parallel the milestones that the DOT has achieved thus far, and that in itself is an achievement or a remarkable feat,” the Congressman from Isabela added.
The move to increase the budget of the DOT was supported by OFW Partylist Representative Marissa Del Mar Magsino during her interpellation.
“The proposed budget for DOT for 2024 is only Php 2.604 billion, which is about a 24 percent decrease from its current budget for 2023 of Php 3.407 billion. This is a move backward and will not support the realization of the country’s vision of a strong tourism industry. I, therefore, ask my dear colleagues to support not only the approval but for the rightful increase in the proposed budget of the DOT for 2024”.
In 2022 alone, the tourism industry’s international and domestic visitor arrivals raked in tourism receipts amounting to Php 1.87 trillion. In the same year, the Philippines recorded 2.65 million international arrivals breaching the initial target of 1.7 million.
“The approved budget will allow for the efficient and successful implementation of the Department’s programs, projects, and activities designed to provide long-term solutions to some of the most pressing challenges that confront our country’s tourism industry as summed up to three basic but crucial components of connectivity, convenience, and equality. The DOT is committed to utilizing the allotted resources judiciously with the benefit and well-being of the country as the most important concern,” said Frasco.
During the HoR Committee on Appropriations deliberations, Secretary Frasco presented major tourism wins, including the establishment of the DOT Tourist Rest Areas across the country, improvement of gateways starting with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, the facilitation of seamless entry protocols for travelers, and the diversification of tourism products and portfolio through various initiatives such as the Philippine Experience Program, among others.
Published:September 20, 2023