Officials remember ‘approachable’ Alburo

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama thanked former Department of Tourism (DOT) undersecretary Phineas Alburo for his service in the national agency as well as the Cebu City Government.

Alburo died last Thursday.

Rama said he was shocked.


“This is just so unfortunate,” said Rama.

The DOT undersecretary for special concerns slipped and hit his head on the pavement last Wednesday. He died the next day, Aug. 14.

Alburo was rushed to the hospital and underwent head surgery, but he didn't survive.

He was 70.

DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo said the region lost an icon and pillar of Cebu's tourism.

"Our heartfelt condolences to the family of late Usec. Phineas. Thank you for all that you have done for the department and for touching the lives of many people. We will truly miss you," read DOT Central Visayas’ official Facebook page.

"We are saddened by his death. He was such a good man and good mentor," said Montecillo, who was Alburo's secretary when he was then director of DOT 7.


"He was approachable. He was a good motivator."

Rama remembered that Alburo served as liaison officer between the City and National Governments during the time of former president now Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Pampanga, 2nd district).

“He was connected with the National Government and we had a bridge in terms of expediting some projects,” Rama said of Alburo's stint in the tourism department.

Some three years ago until early this year, Rama said, Alburo served as the head of the Cebu City Tourism Commission.

Alburo resigned three months ago, citing his age and health.

The commission is now headed by Tetta Baad.

Alburo, an engineering graduate of the University of Southern Philippines (USP), joined the tourism industry in 1964.

He opened the Board of Travel and Tourism Industry (now DOT) office in Cebu.

During his stint as tourism chief in 1967, he welcomed the first tourist ship that arrived in Cebu, the SS Statendam, which had 400 American and European tourists on board.

Alburo later became head of the Philippine Tourism Authority in Cebu and served as a tourism attache in Hong Kong and Singapore.


He was DOT assistant secretary before being appointed as undersecretary for special concerns during the stint of then tourism secretary now Rep. Joseph “Ace” Durano (Cebu, 5th district).

Alburo retired in 2009.

"Phineas has a wide experience in tourism. His death is sudden and we were all shocked of how he went. He is a great loss to the industry," said former DOT 7 director Patria Aurora Roa.

Roa described Alburo as "soft-spoken, always smiling, and a gentleman."

Alburo was instrumental in crafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Tourism Act 2009.

"He left a legacy. He was one of those who traveled across regions to get the feedback from tourism stakeholders," said Roa.

Aside from doing consultancy work after his retirement, Alburo was involved in the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the USP Foundation where he was a part-time instructor.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2014.

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