Friday, June 29, 2018

COA reports former DOT Chief Wanda Teo’s luxurious P2.5-M Duty Free shopping spree

Former Secretary Department of Tourism Wanda Teo. Image credit to Google photos

Despite the current investigation by the Ombudsman that the former Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo is facing, recent reports from the Commission on Audit came to light and it is indeed a shocker. 2.5 million pesos of shopping spree’d luxury goods from Duty Free, a government-owned and controlled corporation that sells luxury items tax-free, was discovered and reported on COA’s 2017 audit.

"The withdrawn merchandise consisted of toiletries, kitchen wares, beddings, appliances, canned goods, branded bags, luxury brand cosmetics, chocolates and others," COA released.

Other than Teo, former Undersecretary for Administration and Special Concerns Rolando Cañizal also got to take home tax-free luxury goods.

There were memos that the former DOT chief issued wich allowed them to withdraw around P43,885 worth of purchases. The former Undersecretary, on the other hand, claimed a total of P1.37-million worth of Duty Free goods. The DOT apparently was billed and had withdrawn P758,525 worth of items and an additional P346,446 worth of items again from May to September 2017. COA’s reports states that it wasn’t even properly logged, leading to the anomalies between what the DOT received and what Duty Free released.

In the Commission’s report it stated that,

"The 277 items costing US$6,938.35 or P346,446.80, apart from the US$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 GPS (Gate Pass Slips).”

And to verify such outrageous spending, the COA also discovered that around 300 Duty Free items were delivered straight to the doorstep of the DOT through GPS’ that were issued by the departments own employees.

Now the COA advises that to,

"Stop the practice of directly charging from DOT's share in DFPC's net profits for the cost of items withdrawn by DOT from the DFPC stores and other payments made by DFPC for and in behalf of the DOT pursuant to the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9593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)."

There is also exist Section 105 of the aformentioned Act that dictates that "to fund tourism programs and projects" 50% of the annual net profit of Dutry Free will be remitted automatically by the Tourism Secretary’s Office.

Also, according to the COA, it is a must that Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC) bill the DOT P4.14-million in purchases and that the accounting department should record all transactions that the Tourism office made.

Wanda Teo was self-righteous about the discovery, she stated that,

"I hereby affirm that the DOT under my watch would not have allowed receipt by the DOT of any DFPC items and merchandises unless the lawful processes are duly observed and followed."

She then announced that she won’t make any comments on the matter for it is an initial COA report, undermining the said discovery.

"I cannot make any intelligent comment since there were no names... Preliminary naman ang COA report not yet conclusive,” Teo stated.

Just because Duty Free is a corporation under the DOT that the government controlles and owns doesn’t mean chief executives of the DOT can take advantage of it. With all the facts in line, Teo apparently is sketchier than what she proves herself not to be.

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Daily Pilipinas Source: CNN Philippines

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