New DOT head to talk to Montano over Buhay Carinderia project

MANILA— Newly appointed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday said she expects to have a detailed talk with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief Cesar Montano soon.

This, following questions on TPB’s alleged PHP80 million full payment to the country’s food tourism project, “Buhay Carinderia.”

“I still don’t have the papers, but I want to talk to him (Montano),” Romulo-Puyat said in a press conference.

The Buhay Carinderia-Redefined was launched in April 2018, with a goal to improve image of local food stands that represent the Philippines’ culture and culinary.

The project was supposed to be a year-long event, where TPB, together with marketing agency Marylindbert International Inc., will scour the whole country in search for the best carinderia.

The culminating event is expected to be held in Manila in November 2018.

The new Tourism chief said she read the article of columnist Boo Chanco, who alleged that Montano paid for the “Buhay Carinderia” project at PHP80 million in full, even when the event has not been completed yet.

In standard practice, the government pays in tranches, the last of which is upon submission of a project report.

While she “trusts” the columnist, Romulo-Puyat said she will make sure to get the side of Montano.

During the press conference, Romulo-Puyat also said that President Duterte himself instructed her to review all contracts in the department and check whether everything had gone through the proper bidding process. Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/