THE next government’s nominee to head the Tourism department said health measures imposed on her industry must balance the need for safety and preserving livelihoods.

Tourism Secretary-designate Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco said during her welcoming ceremony at the Department of Tourism in Makati City on Monday that the pandemic has left tourism workers scarred by the loss of income when travel was restricted.

“When people lose their livelihoods and are left hungry and without opportunities for income, they may lose their lives as well. So, it’s very important to strike a balance between lives and livelihood. Therefore, it is important to (evaluate) the existing health and safety protocols and to examine whether or not there is a necessity to (relax them) in the interest of revitalizing the tourism industry,” Ms. Frasco said.

“We greatly appreciate all the efforts of the National Government in implementing the necessary health and safety protocols for the protection of life. But at the same time, from our experience in Cebu, we have also seen the importance of balancing the protection of life with the protection of livelihoods, because if we continue to allow ourselves to be shackled by the fear of the pandemic rather than revising our perspective to learn how to live with this virus in a manner that is responsible and conscious of health protocols, then not only lives will be lost but livelihoods as well,” she added.

COVID-19 cases have been rising again recently. The weekly case bulletin of the Department of Health issued on Monday indicates that the Philippines logged 4,634 new COVID-19 cases between June 20 to 26, up 53% compared to the week earlier.

Ms. Frasco said she will push to promote other sites in the Philippines that are not yet widely known to tourists. She gave no details.

“It is very important for us to continue to harness the marketability of our already well-known tourism sites, but at the same time, shed light on the sites in the Philippines that have not yet had equal opportunity for promotion and product development,” Ms. Frasco said.

She said the promotion strategy on her watch will seek to “focus on our natural resources but also on the development and promotion of our people and our products.” — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave