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Mag-partner pala! TPB exec who ratted on Cesar Montano signed check, proposal for ‘Buhay Carinderia’

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The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) official who tagged former TPB chief operating officer (COO) Cesar Montano in various irregularities was also involved in approving the controversial “Buhay Carinderia” project, Politiko has learned.

Documents obtained by Politiko showed TPB Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Marketing and Promotions Sector Maricon Ebron signed the project proposal for “Buhay Carinderia.”

Under the proposal, TPB will be the “sole presentor” of the project’s North Luzon leg for a hefty price tag of P80 million.

“Buhay Carinderia” was touted to bring together the biggest names in the food industry and food enthusiasts “on a common ground where all these major stakeholders can meet face to face.” The project was supposed to run from April to December this year.

Based on the document, Ebron signed the project proposal for the approval of Montano and then-Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.

In addition to approving “Buhay Carinderia,” Ebron also signed the certification authorizing the payment of P13.4 million to Marylindbert International on March 19, 2018. The company is the organizer of “Buhay Carinderia.”

The P13.4-million check paid to Marylindbert International represented the first tranche of the P80-million total payment received by the company for the project even though it hasn’t started yet.

Ebron was listed as the “recommending approval” for the certification of payment for Marylindbert International while Montano had the final approval. TPB market specialist Albert Gadia Jr. was named as the project officer.

In a May 18 interview with CNN Philippines, Ebron said there were several TPB projects under Montano’s watch that were tainted with irregularities.

These projects, she added, have budgets ranging from P4 million to P15 million.

“Marami nang naimplement na medyo nangangailangan ng bidding or it has to go through the process, ng board approval na medyo nagskip doon sa mga processes na iyon. So I think na tama na dapat i-review,” Ebron said.

But based on the documents for “Buhay Carinderia,” Ebron, Montano and Teo all had a hand in approving one of the TPB’s most controversial projects yet.