DOT Usec Bathan issues apology for viral post on helping friend in Japan

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
DOT Usec Bathan issues apology for viral post on helping friend in Japan
This March 2024 photo shows Tourism Undersecretary for legal and special concerns Mae Elaine Bathan
DOT / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism Undersecretary for legal and special concerns Mae Elaine Bathan, also the chief of staff of Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, on Friday issued a statement acknowledging that she should be more mindful of her social media activity following her viral Facebook post that drew criticisms.

Bathan earlier shared a screenshot of her conversation with her best friend Regal Oliva, also the Mandaue City Treasurer lawyer, indicating that she stopped her meeting about a national issue to extend help to the latter.

Oliva, who was then in Japan, said that she “needed help on Google Translate” as she was craving for Japanese food.

“When your bestfriend calls you because she needed help on Google Translate so she can eat and thrive in Japan, all else will have to stop. Even if it’s about the airport takeover and privatization,” Bathan wrote in a now inaccessible Facebook post.

Her best friend then took to Facebook to share her side of story, quoting Bathan as saying that feeding her in Japan “is more important that matters of national concern.”

The two social media posts drew flak from Filipinos who called out the move to prioritize others over a national concern. They also sought explanation from Bathan.


Bathan expressed regret that her Facebook post is “taking away attention from more serious matters.” 

Following the criticisms, the undersecretary stressed that her social media activity “never intends to disrespect the office she represents, her colleagues and the purpose of her work.”

“I acknowledge that as a public servant, I should be more mindful of how and what I share, especially in public to not cause any confusion,” Bathan said.

The DOT official also apologized to Frasco, her colleagues and the public following the post.

“I would like to assure the everyone that I would never brush aside my duties and responsibilities as a public servant - these will always be my priority,” the undersecretary said.

 “I ask for the kind understanding and sincerely apologize to the Secretary, my colleagues and the public. Moving forward, I will practice more discernment in my use of any social media platform to ensure that this will not happen again. Thank you and I sincerely apologize for any negative sentiments this may have caused,” she concluded.

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