Philippine tourism: Who will replace Lim?


MANILA, Philippines – An ally of President Aquino who lost in the May 2010 senatorial race has offered herself as possible replacement for outgoing Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim or any other vacant Cabinet post.

“President Aquino didn’t offer the tourism chief post but any Cabinet post is welcome,” former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel recently posted in her Facebook account, a popular social networking site.

Hontiveros ran under the Liberal Party of then senator Aquino, but lost in the elections. She and several other allies have been waiting for their possible appointment to government posts, following the lapse of the one-year ban on losing candidates.

The most successful to land a government post was Aquino’s former running-mate Manuel Roxas II – who lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2010 polls – after he was designated transportation chief, replacing Jose de Jesus.


Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said all the names that are being floated as Lim’s replacement are “all speculations” since only Aquino knows who he will appoint as the next secretary of the Department of Tourism.

“At this point, it’s all speculations until the President tells us that this is the person that will replace Secretary Lim. And that would be final,” she told government-owned radio dzRB.

Among the names that have since been mentioned as contenders for the DOT portfolio are that of advertising executive Ramon Jimenez, defeated LP senatorial bet and former Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon, and talent manager Eugenio “Boy” Abunda Jr., a columnist of The STAR.

Hontiveros, according to Valte, only wanted to help the Aquino administration.

‘Why not Migz?’

Meantime, in Davao City, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ the Name Above Every Name is pushing for former senator Juan Miguel ‘Migz’ Zubiri to be the next tourism chief.

“The former senator has the vision and the charisma for the job as tourism head. He fits well being tourism chief,” Quiboloy said.

Quiboloy made the statement after Zubiri guested in his ‘Give Us This Day’ television show last Friday night where text messages also poured in describing how charismatic and good-looking Zubiri is, which would make him suitable for the job as the country’s No. 1 tourism promoter.

“It is not only the good looks. But Zubiri also has the brains and he knows what to do with the department. He has the vision for the country. His being tourism secretary would really do good for the nation. We hope President Aquino would also consider him (Zubiri) for the tourism job,” Quiboloy said.

Zubiri appeared on Quiboloy’s TV program in an effort to thank his supporters and the rest of the Filipino people for understanding why he opted to resign from office.

Zubiri disclosed that he sought Quiboloy’s guidance and blessing before he reigned as senator last week.

Zubiri said he would embark on an environment and tourism-related series of activities in the next months.

The former senator likewise said he is already at peace with himself now that he resigned from office.

“No regrets. I am very okay. In fact, I am offering myself and my services should Koko (Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III) need me for anything. I would be glad to be of help,” Zubiri said.