President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the nomination of Mark Lapid as chief operating officer of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

Malacañang announced the president’s decision in a statement released on Saturday.

“We confirm that (President Duterte) has signed the appointment of Mr. Mark Lapid as Member, Board of Directors, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) on January 5, 2021,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.

“Tourism is one of the most important sectors of our economy, and the appointment of Mr. Lapid, who is no stranger to TIEZA, augurs well in contributing to the recovery and growth of tourism, which has been affected by the pandemic,” he added.

Lapid is the son of Sen. Lito Lapid.

The younger Lapid will assume the position vacated by Pocholo Paragas until June 30.

He was acting general manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority, which was replaced by the PIEZA in 2009, during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He had held the post until he ran for senate in 2016.

Lapid was also the governor of Pampanga from 2004 to 2007. John Ezekiel J. Hirro