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Puyat asks COA to review tourism board's projects

DOT chief asks COA to review tourism board's projects

MANILA – Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Thursday said she has asked the Commission on Audit (COA) to review all existing projects of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), as well as to strictly require public bidding in all of the agency's projects.

This, after she ordered the suspension of the "Buhay Carinderia" project, one of the government's food tourism programs.

According to Puyat, she asked COA to review all the projects of the TPB, because unlike other government agencies where biddings are a must, sponsorships have become a practice in the TPB.

"I will leave it up to the COA, sila na ang magde-decide, pero I decided to give it to the central COA. Pero ang sabi ko, hindi lamang ang Buhay Carinderia, but all the other projects of the TPB, i-review na," she added.

(I will leave it up to the COA, they should be the ones to decide on it. I decided to give it to the central COA. I also asked them to review not only the Buhay Carinderia project, but all projects of the TPB.)

She also asked TPB chief Cesar Montano to give her details on all of the agency's projects.

"Hiningi ko rin kay COO Cesar Montano na ibigay niya sa akin 'yung mga ongoing projects, kung ano na 'yung stage, kung kumpleto na, or tapos na, o pasimula na. Pero ang hinihingi ko, wala munang go signal kasi hindi ako komportable na walang bidding," she said.

(I also asked COO Cesar Montano for details on all ongoing projects, the stage of each project, if it has been completed, or is finished or just starting. But I asked him not to go on with other projects because I am not comfortable with the 'no bidding' practice.)

"To be fair, he (Montano) really wanted to review 'yung lahat ng programs nila sa TPB," Puyat added.

(To be fair, he really wanted to review all of TPB's programs.)

Puyat said she will look into all of TPB's projects to see if there are unnecessary expenses.

"Gusto ko ring tingnan 'yung iba pang (TPB) programs, baka naman masyadong mahal. Baka naman puwedeng bawasan. Hindi lamang sa bidding, pero kailangan bawasan ng gastos dahil pera ng tao ito eh, hindi naman ito pera ng isang kompanya," she said.

(I want to look at the other (TPB) programs, they may be too expensive. It may be possible to cut costs. It is not only about the bidding, but we have to lessen expenses because this is taxpayers' money, this is not the money of a private company.)

The new tourism chief said she will strictly implement public bidding in the tourism department and all its attached agencies.

"Basta 'pag walang bidding, bawal. 'Yun ang aking bagong policy. At itinanong ko sa abogado ko, as the chairman (TPB), puwede kong gawin," Puyat said.

(Any project that did not go through public bidding will not be allowed. That is my new project. I asked my lawyer, as the chairman (of the TPB), I can do it.)

"Of course it is going to be a policy because that is the only way na you can be transparent," she added.

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