New Tourism chief to look into Montano’s P80-M ’Buhay Carinderia’
Newly appointed Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday said she would be looking into the “Buhay Carinderia” program of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) amid reports of alleged irregularities.
Romulo-Puyat said she would summon Cesar Montano, TPB chief operating officer, to explain why he allegedly paid P80 million in checks even before the completion of “Buhay Carinderia,” a government food tourism program.
Philppine Star columnist Boo Chanco earlier alleged that Montano paid P80 million in full to a certain Linda Legaspi for the program.
Romulo-Puyat said she would first ask TPB what the program was about, hoping that it was not another irregularity that prompted the resignation of her predecessor, Wanda Tulfo-Teo.
In an interview on “Headstart” with Karen Davila on ANC, Romulo-Puyat said: “I want to ask: ‘Why have you been giving checks when the project hasn’t even started yet?’ Whoever the organizer is, did it go through proper bidding?’”
She said she would want to know the details of the budget and objectives of the program and make sure that it went through the proper process.
“I cannot implement a project that was not transparent or did not go through the proper process,” she said.
When asked if she would have the program canceled and proceed with the “Madrid Fusion,” which was reportedly discontinued, the tourism chief said she would exercise diligence.
“I will ask my lawyers, and even the COA: Is this legal? If it’s not legal, sorry,” she said. /atm
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