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Frasco going on 9-day leave, will be back to attend SONA, assures Palace

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco is going on a nine-day scheduled leave “to spend time with her young family,” the Department of Tourism and the Palace said, rejecting speculations that it is related to the rebranding fiasco due to a promotional video that used stock footage of other countries.

“The purpose of the short leave beginning July 13-21 consisting of only 7 working days, is to spend time with her young family. She is confirmed to attend the SONA. Any insinuation to the contrary is false,” the DOT said.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil said Frasco’s application for leave was received by the Office of the President on May 9, 2023, way before the launch of the new tourism slogan, “Love the Philippines” and the release of the controversial promotional video.

The leave application was approved last May 23, 2023, Garafil said.

Frasco has repeatedly declined to answer questions on the tourism campaign fiasco in her recent public events.

But in an event in Cebu over the weekend, while Frasco did not address the mess squarely, she vowed not to betray the trust given to her as Tourism chief.

“A little over a year ago, we all gathered where you expressed your elation and happiness at a Cebuana having been appointed as the secretary of the Department of Tourism. Back then I knew as I continue to understand that it has been and is incumbent upon me not to betray your trust,” she said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday he still trusted Frasco and expressed confidence that the Department of Tourism’s new campaign “Love the Philippines” will be “as successful as they hoped for” despite the fiasco over its campaign video created by the ad agency DDB Philippines.

“Yes absolutely, no question. I spoke to her (Frasco). I have been actually (in touch with her) since all of these came to the fore,” said the President.

“She moved fast in that she terminated the contracts that were in question. She has also since put under review all of the other contracts that were in the pipeline. So in my opinion she has it under control. She knows what to do,” the President added.

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro earlier said she is pushing for a thorough investigation into the recent controversies surrounding the DOT’s new branding campaign.

She cited the need for transparency and accountability as millions of pesos in taxpayers’ money are involved in this issue.

“It is imperative that we shed light on this ‘Frasco fiasco’ to ensure that public funds are being utilized appropriately and that there is no undue influence from individuals associated with the Marcos regime,” she said.

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