Tired of traveling, Tourism Secretary Lim resigns
He told a press conference in Malacañang that he was tired of all the traveling and sometimes lost track of where he was.
“Sometimes you’re on the road and you wake up, you don’t know where you are, you don’t even know what time or day it is — that’s the kind of conditions that we have to live in," he said.
At a press briefing in Malacañang, Lim announced that his resignation will be effective on August 31.
“I would like to announce I have tendered my resignation as Tourism secretary and head of its attached agencies. The President has accepted my resignation," he said.
Lim said his reason is personal and he wanted to have more time with his family.
“I leave gratified that I have laid the foundation for a strong tourism growth in keeping with the President’s vision," Lim said.
"I thank the President for the opportunity given to me to serve the Filipino people. I have undiminished hope that the President will realize his vision," he added.
Lim is the third Aquino Cabinet secretary who resigned from office. Earlier, Alberto Romulo resigned as Foreign Affairs secretary followed months after by Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose de Jesus.
Lim said he told Aquino late last month of his plan to resign, but it was only last Friday that they really talked about it.
“That should clear that question (that I was asked to leave office)," he said.
No replacement yet
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino has yet to come up with Lim’s replacement.
Lacierda said, "Aquino accepted Lim's resignation last Monday but the announcement was only scheduled today."
He praised the Tourism Department under Lim's leadership for the half-a-million increase in foreign visitors in the last 12 months.
The number of domestic travelers also went up from 25 million to 28 million, creating 400,000 jobs, according to Lacierda.
He added that Lim was the chief advocate of the Pocket Open Skies Policy which he said is a landmark break away from the protectionist policies of the past.
"All these are remarkable achievements. He has been a conscientious and highly dedicated member of the President’s official family," he said.
Lacierda further said Lim has put in place policy foundations for tourism’s growth "and he has done so with tenacity, integrity, and vigor.
"We wish Mr. Lim every continued success, as he returns to private life, to enjoy more time with his family," he said.
Asked if he can recommend somebody to replace him, Lim said any of his undersecretaries can act as officer in charge but that he will leave it to the President to decide.
“This is his choice. The incoming secretary has to have his confidence," Lim said.
Not one of Aquino’s headaches
Mark D. Merueñas, GMA News
Following the resignation of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, members of the Philippine travel sector on Thursday said they have high hopes his successor will continue where he left off in improving the industry.
In a statement, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) said they are grateful for Lim's contributions to the Department of Tourism.
"Being saddled with this responsibility takes patience, organizational skills and leadership to ensure that it creates an effective plan in ensuring the success of tourism in the country. Part of this, Secretary Lim has already done. We just hope that it will be continued by his successor to the post," the group said.
Stressing the need for "continuity" at the department, the association said its members are worried about Tourism secretaries staying in their post for an average of two years.
"This is quite detrimental to the industry," the PTTA said.
“It’s already on his (Aquino) desk and it was ready for presentation. I will brief my successor whoever he or she is on the plan because it is a big plan," he said.
The objectives of the plan were to double tourism international arrivals by 2016 and to create 2.8 million new jobs.
Lim, however, admitted that reports that he was one of the headaches of the President had an effect on him.
Last year, Lim drew flak over the DOT’s “Pilipinas, Kay Ganda" slogan. Despite this, Malacañang said President Aquino still trusted the Tourism chief.
Since July, reports were rife that Lim was on his way out. Lacierda said then that there was no plan to replace the DOT chief.
At the briefing, Lim expressed confidence that the programs of the DOT will continue without him.
“’Yung trabaho ng department is so important [that] it should not matter whether the secretary is there or not. The work is institutionalized. We have assigned undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to lead those programs," Lim said.
He said he remains open to return to government service in the future and that he will continue supporting Aquino and his administration.
“Bukas ang aking isip doon. Of course, I will hope for a less stressful job because I come from the private sector and I’m not, maybe I’m not accustomed to the ways of government pa. I was learning," said Lim.
He admitted that he did not anticipate that his work as Tourism secretary would take most of his time.
“Maybe I did not realize how much… it actually entail and maybe I imposed it on myself because every weekend, almost every weekend in the last 56 weeks, I spent traveling around the country visiting from Batanes to Zamboanga. From Palawan to Samar, I visited the sites, the tourism sites and made a number of trips abroad," he said.
“I guess the point is it took its toll and I felt that maybe, you know, the family should also have some time and I didn’t want to lower my standard as far as work is concerned," he added. — VVP/ELR/VS/HS