Early life and education
Bernadette Fatima Tecson Romulo-Puyat was in Quezon City, Philippines to politician and diplomat Alberto Romulo and Lovely Tecson. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of the Philippines Diliman.
Before joining government service, Romulo-Puyat was a lecturer at the University of the Philippines School of Economics from 1994 to 2006. In 2004, she ran for representative of the 1st District of Quezon City but lost to Vincent Crisologo by 2,000 votes. After this initial attempt at a foray into politics, Romulo-Puyat opened pharmacies in Metro Manila that sold generic drugs and other affordable medicines.
Presidential Management Staff consultant
From April 2005 to May 2006, Romulo-Puyat was an economics consultant in the Presidential Management Staff under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. From May to December 2006, she was deputy cabinet secretary of the Office of the President.
In January 2007, Romulo-Puyat became the undersecretary for special concerns of the Department of Agriculture. She held this position until 30 June 2016, working under the administrations of presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Upon President Rodrigo Duterte's assumption of office, Romulo-Puyat became the department’s undersecretary for administration, agribusiness and marketing, and regional engagement, serving in this capacity from July 2016 to May 2018.
Romulo-Puyat became the secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT) on May 11, 2018. Her appointment followed the resignation of her predecessor, Wanda Teo, who was allegedly involved in a conflict of interest regarding the DOT’s ₱60 million advertisement deal with People's Television Network. Upon her appointment, Romulo-Puyat said she planned to focus on farm tourism and would look into the possibility of the Philippines hosting Miss Universe 2018. Plans regarding the pageant did not come to fruition due to budget concerns.
During her first month as secretary of the DOT, Romulo-Puyat alleged that corruption was widespread in the department, with “hundreds of millions” from funds misused in schemes. She had all existing DOT projects suspended pending a review by the Commission on Audit. She also ordered most incumbent undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to submit their courtesy resignations, including actor Cesar Montano and TV presenter Kat de Castro. Only undersecretary Bong Bengzon was not told to resign.
Romulo-Puyat was married to lawyer David Puyat, who died in 2010. She has two children.
- "A woman for women", BusinessMirror, 20 March 2015. Retrieved on 20 May 2018.
- "Who is Bernadette Romulo-Puyat?", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 8 May 2018. Retrieved on 20 May 2018.
- "No Miss Universe hosting for PH this year, says tourism chief", ABS-CBN News, 18 May 2018.
- "It's 'shocking' – not fun – in DOT; corruption makes new chief weep", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 20 May 2018. Retrieved on 22 May 2018.
- "Tourism Chief asks for courtesy resignation of all DOT executives but reveals she will retain at least one undersecretary", CNN Philippines, 16 May 2018. Retrieved on 20 June 2018.