COA: ex-TPB chief operating officer Cesar Montano spent P2.27M in 14 trips abroad - The Daily Sentry

Thursday, July 26, 2018

COA: ex-TPB chief operating officer Cesar Montano spent P2.27M in 14 trips abroad

Former Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief operating officer Cesar Montano / photo grabbed from MSN

Manila, Philippines – Former Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief operating officer Cesar Montano vacated his post in May after his “Buhay Carinderia” project got criticized by then newly appointed Secretary of Tourism Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

Montano, in his letter dated May 22, said that his resignation was “effective immediately” and was only sent through Presidential Special Assistant Bong Go.

However, controversies continue to hound the ex- TPB as the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged him over “excessive and extravagant” foreign travels.

In its latest report, the state audit agency said that Montano went abroad 14 times in 2017, —91 days of 365 days—and spent P2.277 million as he travelled to not only Asia, but Europe, Australia and North America.

“Travel abroad for more than 90 days and more than 12 times in a year of an officer or employee is deemed excessive and may have adverse repercussions on the management of the affairs of the government corporation,” COA said.

Furthermore, COA also reported that Montano travelled with his executive assistant and private 
secretary 10 and 11 times, respectively, in his foreign travels.

Hence, for these travels of Montano, TPB incurred additional expenses of P2.995 million.*

Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat / photo from ABS CBN

Contrary to the executive order requiring government officials to travel in economy class and as directed by the president, business class tickets amounting to P594, 000 were purchased for Montano.
The officer-in-charge of the Deputy for International Promotions also had foreign travels for 113 days and incurred P1.957 million expenses.

Moreover, the state auditor cited that the account balance for international travels was understated by P26.622 million due to the erroneous recording of the travel expenses.

Though it was part of the mandate the TPB should market Philippine Tourism, it was recommended that limits should be set on travels of officers abroad.

COA added that official transportation shall also be restricted to economy class unless authorized by the chief executive.

The state auditor also called out the TPB for granting financial support amounting to P7 million to different organizations, local government units and even private corporations for events not related to tourism promotion.

“The objectives of the grants for financial assistance or sponsorship were purely for the media mileage or value obtained by TPB as sponsor of the events,” COA said.

Further, the state auditor cited that Tourism Promotions Board (PTB) violated the declared policy under Tourism Act of 2009.

Source: Philstar