DOT: We didn’t clear Buhay Carinderia events, suspension stays

In Photo: Marylindbert International Inc. conducts a prequalifying search for the Best Food 2018 for its Buhay Carinderia Redefined project, in Vigan on June 7.

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) has issued a caveat emptor regarding the activities or events under the Buhay Carinderia Redefined project.

In a statement released to the BusinessMirror, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Fatima Romulo Puyat said: “Given the suspension of the program, and pending its review by the Commission on Audit, any activities of the private proponent of Buhay Carinderia at this point are not sanctioned by the DOT and should not in any way be considered as connected with the Department.”

Romulo Puyat made the statement upon receiving reports that event organizer Marylindbert International Inc. has been implementing several activities under the P320-million Buhay Carinderia project. The DOT chief ordered the project’s suspension after finding out that three checks had already been issued by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), DOT’s marketing arm, to Marylindbert amounting to over P80 million, even before the project’s first phase actually started.

Romulo Puyat added: “The DOT has not disbursed any further funds since the project’s suspension. The DOT will verify reports [about Buhay Carinderia activities], and will take appropriate steps, including formally informing the other party about DOT’s actions.”

As per its Twitter and Facebook accounts, Buhay Carinderia recently held “pre-qualifying events” in Northern Luzon, for Best Food 2018, Philippine Tourism Millennial Ambassadors, Chefs and Cooks Cook-Off, as well as a student-mentoring portion. Said activities were even reported by the government-owned PTV-4 Ilocos station.

These events are supposedly in preparation for the Northern Luzon culminating activity in Vigan, Ilocos Sur on June 29 and 30, as per its social media sites.

Image credits: Buhay Carinderia Facebook page


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