Tourism chief blames PTV4’s state auditors on P60M controversy

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 2 May) – Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo blamed the state auditors of the government-owned People’s Television Network Inc. (PTNI) for its report questioning the controversial placement of advertisements worth P60.01 million in the program produced by the production house owned by her brother, Ben Tulfo.

In a press conference during the 1st Philippine National Halal Conference at the Marco Polo Davao on Wednesday, Teo claimed the state auditors of the Department of Tourism (DOT) found no irregularities in the contracts made between the DOT and PTV and that the problem was with the state auditors of the network who reviewed the DOT’s contract with PTV.

The tourism commercials were aired last year at the Kilos Pronto, a blocktime program of PTV Network that was owned by her brother’s Bitag Media Unlimited Incorporated (BMUI).

“Hindi po COA (Commission on Audit) ng DOT ang may problema, COA ng PTV4 (The problem is not with DOT’s COA, it’s with PTV4’s). I do not know what happened. The people should be asking PTV not DOT because ayos po ang papers namin (because our papers are okay). It has been there, it has been bugging me,” she said.

In a statement released on April 28, the PTV Network said they could “complete documents” for the placement of advertisements in Kilos Pronto such as contract between the network and BMUI; certificate of performance; dully approved budget utilization request; and billing statement detailing deliverables.

It stated that all other issues and matters have already been addressed and clarified with the COA during Exit Conference between COA and PTNI.

It added the reports undermine “PTV’s integrity, when in truth, the Network, since the beginning of this administration, has been regularly operating and performing its mandate as the flagship television network of the Republic of the Philippines in delivering unbiased and quality information to the Filipino people.”

The tourism chief maintained that there was no conflict of interest, explaining that she had nothing to do with the placements of advertisements. She said it was the network who decided which program to air the commercials.

“All checks were paid for PTV4. Hindi kami nagbigay ng cheke to any advertising house (We did not give checks to any advertising house),” Teo said.

She said the DOT did not give specific requirement nor asked PTV to put the commercials in his brother’s program.

The contract made between PTV4 and DOT went through a bidding and was reviewed by the agency’s legal team, Teo said.

“There was no truth to the report that I selected the production house of my brother. It’s not true because I cannot dictate on PTV4 which programs to place the ads. They decided on it,” Teo said.

She said the agency spent about P500 million on advertisements, placed in different national and international media outfits such as ABS-CBN, GMA, CNN Philippines, CNN International, BBC, Discovery Channels, and national broadsheets.

She said they placed advertisements in PTV Network as instructed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to support the government-run media outfit. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)