Lawyer Helen J. Catalbas, Department of Tourism (DOT-6) regional director, announced on Wednesday, April 14, her retirement from government service.
“I am leaving my position with my head held high. I came into this position without any baggage. I am leaving this position very light and without any baggage also,” Catalbas said in an interview on IMT Conversations.
According to Catalbas, the most challenging part of being in the tourism department was making people understand the importance of tourism.
"Sang bag-o palang ako nagsulod, ang term nga turismo indi pa kilala. Maghambal ka nga tourism nagataas kilay sang mga tawo," she said.
"Nangin kabahin ako sang Iloilo Field Office sang DOT nga nagpamalay-malay sa mga banwa. Ginpanipon ang mga tawo sa mga plaza kag i-eksplikar kon ano ang ginatawag nga turismo," she recalled.
Under her directorship, Catalbas said the DOT-6 implemented several community-based projects such as Konsiyerto para sa Turismo, Sabores de Visayas, and Western Visayas Film Festival.
"May ara man kita mga initiatives pagid in partnership with other national government agencies," she added.
Catalbas served the government for more than
She started leading the DOT-6 in 2011 after she was designated as officer-in-charge (OIC).
The following year, Catalbas was appointed as acting regional director of the DOT-6 and then became a full-fledged regional director in 2016.
To ensure the continuous operation of the DOT-6, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat assigned Cristine Mansinares, DOT-6 chief operations officer, as OIC.
“In view of the retirement of director Helen J. Catalbas beginning April 17, 2021, [Mansinares] is hereby designated as OIC of the [DOT-6],” Department Order No. 2021-023 stated.
Catalbas said she was “quite happy” for the designation of Mansinares, former provincial tourism officer of Negros Occidental, as OIC.IMT