Puyat vows transparency with COA over flagged DOT expenses

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2019 04:35 PM

MANILA - The Department of Tourism (DOT) is submitting all documents requested by government auditors following an audit report showing the agency spent more than P500-million without paperwork, the tourism chief said Friday.

Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said most of the disbursements flagged by Commission on Audit (COA) were released before she was appointed secretary in May 2018.

“Majority was actually before my time. It was before my time pero ang gagawin lang po namin, we would just submit the necessary documentary requirements na hinihingi ng COA," she told reporters after she was asked for comment on the report.

Puyat was guest of honor at the city's commemoration of the 123rd anniversary of the Battle of San Juan del Monte, commonly called Battle of Pinaglabanan.

The COA report covering the 2018 period shows that various tourism offices spent P507.304 million despite the lack of documents. A big portion of the amount went to expenses for the ASEAN 2017 convention, production of video materials, and cash advances for foreign travel.

Meanwhile, Puyat said the agency is leaving it to the Ombudsman and COA to investigate and file charges in relation to the controversial projects of her predecessor Wanda Tulfo-Teo. These include the Buhay Karinderya project and the P60-million advertising spending on television programs of Teo's brothers.

"We've already given it to the Ombudsman, at sila po ang magfi-file. It's all with them, but we cooperated with them with all the documentary requirements.”

"'Pag humihingi sila ng documents, binibigay naman namin lahat, kasi transparent naman po lahat,” she added.