The Department of Tourism (DOT) has been asked to submit documents to support the regularity and validity of some of its transactions totaling P3.837 million.
The Commission on Audit (COA) deemed the transactions “irregular, unnecessary, unconscionable, excessive, and extravagant.”
In the 2021 annual audit report on the DOT, state auditors told its management to strictly adhere to governing laws, rules and regulations to ensure regularity of transactions, ABS-CBN News reported.
The COA said among the flagged transactions that have yet to be justified by the DOT was the P236,500 contract of the Office of the Secretary (OSEC) with Grand Hyatt Manila in Taguig City for 75 persons despite the attendance of only 13 persons.
Auditors also cited P1.534 million “irregular charging” of financial assistance to Pacific Asia Travel Association.
In its report, the COA further said the DOT Region 1 also spent P697,854 for the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor Launching in Baguio City, including an “extravagant” plated lunch for 60 persons at P1,100 each as well as payment for a canceled lunch reservation at Pannzian Beach and Mountain Resort due to bad weather.
“Otherwise, demand full refund of the amounts considered as irregular, unnecessary, unconscionable, excessive and extravagant in nature,” the audit team, quoted by ABS-CBN News, said.
The COA audit report noted a few comments from the DOT management, including the belated submission of additional documents to support the validity of transactions in relation to the PATA spending.
“They further explained that the circumstances were difficult considering that the decision to cancel the lunch reservation in Pannzian Beach and Mountain Resort and to transfer the accommodations to another hotel were beyond their control,” the COA audit team further said.
The COA said DOT offices have agreed to let their chief accountants and other responsible persons submit the lacking documents.