Lutong raket! Cesar Montano pays P80M to ‘Buhay Carinderia’ organizers even if project ain’t done yet
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat would do well to check the P80-million contract entered into by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) for the “Buhay Carinderia” project once she starts office.
Philippine Star columnist Boo Chanco has revealed that TPB, led by Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano, already paid the organizers of “Buhay Carinderia” in full even if the project isn’t done yet.
This goes against the normal practice of paying project organizers in tranches, with the final payment being made when it is already completed.
For the “Buhay Carinderia” project, final payment should’ve been made in January 2019.
However, Chanco said he obtained copies of checks issued by the TPB to “Buhay Carinderia’s” organizers, which showed the payments were made between March and April this year.
“The contract dated March 15 and notarized March 20 calls for a financial sponsorship of P80 million, plus VAT, to be released in four tranches: P12 million; P28 million; P32 million and P8 million upon completion of certain milestones. But full payment of over P80 million was made between March 19 to April 17,” Chanco said.
“Three Landbank checks charged to the account of the TPB were issued as follows: March 19 for P13,440,172.80; March 20 for P31,360,000; April 17 for P35.840,000,” he added.
By comparison, Chanco said organizers of the Madrid Fusion Manila received their first 15-percent downpayment after the culinary event ended in April 2017. They received the full payment last year.
“Buhay Carinderia” will feature chef Erwan Heussaff training the spotlight on local eateries. The project was conceptualized by Linda Legaspi of Marylindbert International.
Given the rush with which Montano paid “Buhay Carinderia’s” organizers, Chanco couldn’t help but raise questions about the project.
“Were they anticipating the inevitability of the former secretary’s ouster? Why did the approving authorities sign off on the payments that are in violation of the contract and the norms of government? Who is the carinderia proponent and what is the relationship with the tourism officials?” he asked.
Chanco said a certain Filipino fashion designer appears to be the connection that made “Buhay Carinderia” happen.
“The same designer had benefited in sponsorships of TPB and DOT for fashion shows in London, Berlin, Canada, Middle East, and New York. Don’t ask how much! It will raise your blood pressure,” he said cryptically.
While Chanco did not mention any names, the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception held in New York last May 9 featured fashion designer Renee Salud.
The event was sponsored by TPB and Department of Tourism.