The Commission on Audit, in its latest report, said Montano was abroad 14 times in 2017—91 days of 365 days—and spent P2.277 million when he traveled to Asia, Europe, Australia and North America.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
Ex-TPB chief Montano spent P2.27M in 14 trips abroad, COA finds
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - July 26, 2018 - 5:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Controversies continue to hound former Tourism Promotions Board chief operating officer Cesar Montano as the state audit agency flagged him for “excessive and extravagant” foreign travels.

The Commission on Audit, in its latest report, said Montano was abroad 14 times in 2017—91 days of 365 days—and spent P2.277 million when he traveled to Asia, 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.

COA also cited that Montano’s executive assistant and private secretary accompanied him 10 and 11 times, respectively, in his foreign travels. For these travels, TPB incurred additional expenses of P2.995 million.

Business class tickets amounting to 594,000 were also purchased for Montano, contrary to an executive order that requires government officials to travel in economy class unless authorized by the president.

The officer-in-charge of the Deputy for International Promotions also traveled abroad for 113 days and incurred expenses totalling P1.957 million.

COA, moreover, said that the account balance for foreign travels was understated by P26.622 million due to the erroneous recording of travel expenses.

While it noted TPB’s mandate to market Philippine tourism, COA recommended that the management should set limits on travels of officers abroad and ensure that official transportation shall be restricted to economy class unless authorized by the chief executive.

Last May 21, Montano resigned as the COO of the TPB amid allegations hounding his office, particularly the Buhay Carinderia project. It has been suspended pending the results of a review.

COA also called out TPB for granting financial sponsorships amounting to P7 million to various organizations, local government units and private corporations for events not related with promoting the country’s tourism.

“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,” the state auditors said.

COA said TPB violated the Tourism Act of 2009.

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CESAR MONTANO TOURISM PROMOTIONS BOARD
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