The Commission on Audit has called the attention of resigned Tourism secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo and former-undersecretary for administration and special concerns Rolando Cañizal to the withdrawal of luxury items worth millions of pesos from Duty-Free Philippines Corp. stores in 2017, and the charging of these to funds designed to finance the programs of the Tourism Department.
In a 2017 audit report, CoA said P2.52 million worth of items, such as branded bags, luxury brand cosmetics, appliances and chocolates, were withdrawn from stores on the orders from Teo and Cañizal.
Teo issued memoranda to withdraw P43,885 worth of items, while Cañizal authorized the withdrawal of items worth P1.37 million.
These withdrawals totaled P2.17 million.
State auditors also flagged the Department of Tourism for the withdrawal of P346,446 worth of merchandise from a Duty-Free store between May and September 2017, saying that the withdrawal was not properly documented.
The DoT authorized the delivery of close to 300 items to its offices through gate pass slips only.
“The 277 items costing $6,938.35 or P346,446.80, apart from the $43,091.13 or P2,174,150.08 that were recorded in the books, were all duly receipted by the Office of the DoT Secretary upon the release of the items from the DFPC warehouse based on the issued and approved gate pass slips,” the report said.
DFPC is a government-owned-and -controlled corporation under the DoT.
CoA assailed the agency’s P22,893 cost of shipment of donations and P1.6 million consultancy fee.
It said the DoT violated Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009 for the deduction of P3.797 million worth of merchandise, consultancy fees and shipping costs.
“Stop the practice of directly charging from DoT’s share in DFPC’s net profits for the cost of items withdrawn by DoT from the DFPC stores and other payments made by DFPC for and in behalf of the DoT pursuant to the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9593 (Tourism Act of 2009),” the report said.
The DoT should be billed by the DFPC management for the P4.14 million worth of expenditures.
Teo resigned in May “out of delicadeza” over the controversial P60-million advertising television contract between the agency and her brothers—Ben and Erwin Tulfo.
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