Cesar Montano resigns as tourism board chief

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief Cesar Montano resigned, confirmed Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat on Monday, May 21.

Informed sources earlier told Rappler that the TPB chief operating officer has already stepped down, and Monday was his last day at work.

Montano is at the center of a controversy involving the alleged misuse of funds and mismanagement of the board.

He was involved in an P80-million sponsorship deal for the food tourism project Buhay Carinderia with Mary Lindbert International Incorporated. Montano said the project was "endorsed" by then-Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.

Regarding that project, Puyat said on Monday: "I would like to consider this matter closed – from my active involvement – but trust that COA (Commission on Audit) will get to the bottom of this episode."

In a memorandum obtained by Rappler, Montano asked Puyat to designate either of the 3 highest-ranking TPB officials as officer-in-charge of the board.

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For the Buhay Carinderia project, the TPB had issued checks amounting to P80 million, including value-added tax, in less than a month. The amount is 90% of the total sponsorship deal, but with Mary Lindbert delivering only 15% of the total project outputs. (READ: 'Buhay Carinderia' gets P80M in a month under Cesar Montano)

Montano also hired a P1 consultant who "practically runs" the TPB, interferes in the approval of agency-funded deals, and gives orders to employees. (READ: Who is Ronnie Albao of the Tourism Promotions Board?)

Back in March 2017, TPB employees also filed a complaint against Montano for allegedly "mismanaging" the board. They accused him of misusing funds and approving contracts for events where he himself performed. (READ: Cesar Montano says he's not affected by mismanagement issues in TPB– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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