CITY OF SAN FERNANDO?There has been a steady stream of criticism since former Pampanga Gov. Mark Lapid, eldest son of Sen. Lito Lapid, was sworn in as acting general manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority.
?This is disheartening,? said businessman Renato Romero, chair of the Advocacy for the Development of Central Luzon (ADCL), of the young Lapid?s appointment.
Lapid, 28, took his oath of office before Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano on Friday in Manila.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried to interview Lapid about his new job but he declined. Speaking through a family friend on Saturday, Lapid said he would ?do his best? in his new job.
The same source, a businessman who asked not to be named, said the elder Lapid had advised his son to ?do better by selecting trustworthy friends and associates.?
The senator was apparently alluding to the term of his son as Pampanga governor from June 2004 to June 2007.
According to the PTA website, Lapid is ?acting general manager and chief executive officer.? He joins Emmanuel Veloso, Don Juan Bagatsing and Carlos Honorio Estepa Jr. as members of the PTA board which is chaired by Durano.
Bound for ?bad times?
As of Saturday, however, Lapid had not posted any messages in his space on the website.
Romero said that with Lapid at the helm of the PTA, the tourism sector was bound for ?bad times.?
?How can our country attain progress if these are the kinds of leaders that are taken in government? I wish the President had chosen a qualified one,? he said.
Pampanga Vice Gov. Joseller Guiao said he was ?disappointed? by the decision to put his archenemy in the PTA.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is from Pampanga province, signed Lapid?s appointment papers on Monday, said two sources in the tourism sector.
?Mark has a pending case in the Ombudsman and he has not shown any competence to lead that PTA agency,? Guiao said.
He had sued Lapid for gross incompetence over the low quarry collections during the latter?s gubernatorial term.
Gov. Eddie Panlilio, who defeated Lapid in last year?s election, was able to raise quarry collections from P29.1 million in 2006 to P217 million in 2007.
Panlilio said how Lapid would manage the PTA ?remains to be seen.?
Caesar Lacson, a Pampanga columnist, said ?The Lapids have been thoroughly rejected by the Kapampangan in the most spectacular way?that was the miracle of Among Ed?s (Panlilio) election. Now GMA (Ms Arroyo) is inflicting the Kapampangan?s vomit on the Filipino people.?
With a report from Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon