NEWLY appointed Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has suspended the P80-million Buhay Carinderia projects of the Tourism Promotions Boards after confirming it did not go through a proper bidding process.
Saying she was also not comfortable with the TPB’s standard practice, Romulo-Puyat also ordered all existing projects that never went through a proper procurement process to be discontinued.
“I want to discontinue...[and] I will not proceed with the Buhay Carinderia,” Romulo-Puyat said.
“I am not comfortable if there is no bidding. It seems they’re always doing it at the TPB.”
Romulo-Puyat summoned TPB chief operating officer Cesar Montano after a report came out that he paid P80 million in full for the Buhay Carinderia project to Marylindbert International Inc. president and owner Erlinda Legaspi.
During her late-night meeting with Montano in a “private house,” Romulo-Puyat said Montano might have acted “in good faith” when he signed the memorandum of agreement with Legaspi.
Montano admitted that the project didn’t go through a proper procurement process, but said TPB, as standard practice, enters into a sponsorship agreement with any private company.
He also said all projects went through the legal team of TPB and those were “above board” despite the absence of a proper bidding.
Romulo-Puyat then wrote a letter to the Commission on Audit and asked it to look into the Buhay Carinderia project and all other existing projects and determine those had gone through a a proper bidding process.
“I wrote them and they’re the ones who will determine if the process was right. Until then, I will not proceed with the Buhay Carinderia,” she said.