The Department on Tourism (DOT) vowed to review its existing guidelines on foreign travels of its officials and personnel after the Commission of Audit (COA) flagged the agency’s “excessive and extravagant” travels.
“While the Department of Tourism reiterates that all travels were official in nature and have adhered to government procedures, it assures the Commission on Audit that it will review and revisit the agency’s existing guidelines on the foreign travels of its officials and personnel issue January 2018,” DOT said in a statement issued Friday.
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The DOT also said that if necessary, it would come up with more stringent guidelines to stay “true to its mandate of creating a favorable image of the Philippines within the international community and promoting a positive global view of the country.”
Earlier, the COA said it found irregularities in the way the DOT spent its P2-billion budget in 2017 under resigned Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.
The state audit agency specifically flagged the department’s P19 million travel allowance and released a list of 94 officers that joined tourism-related activities overseas.
The COA said Tulfo-Teo received in 2017 cash advances totaling P863,961.95 for her trips to Berlin, Bangkok, Istanbul, Singapore and South Korea.
“Due to the considerable number of travels abroad of the DOT-central office personnel, we consider it necessary for the DOT to issue specific guidelines for foreign travels to exercise prudence and prevent any excessive and extravagant travels,” the COA noted. /kga
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